(literally translated from Māori language, Taupō-nui-a-Tia means "The great cloak of Tia", where Tia is the name of the discoverer of the lake.)
Technically the first 10 photos are from our drive to Taupo in the evening. The landscape in NZ is to die for. I swear to you - the photos don't do it justice.
On the way to Wellington, I saw a sign for a US Marine Corps Memorial so we scribbled the location down on the map and decided to check it out when we were driving back up to Taupo. We got a little turned around, went about 10km past it on the highway, but finally made it. And I am so glad we did! I was afraid it would be a pitiful little memorial and waste of time but it ended up being really awesome. Vincent read ever board and told me the highlights (I was off taking photos of course). His old unit 1/2 was even mentioned! If you'd like to know more about the USMC's time in NZ check it out here.
We had a room right on the lake and it was beautiful. The first thing we did was walk around the downtown area. Taupo was by far my favorite city that we went too. It felt very relaxed but also up-scale (does that make sense??)
Taupo is know for Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam. Huka Falls is when the "Waikato River, normally up to 100 metres wide, abruptly narrows to just 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge. This of course causes a huge volume of water to collide together, forming a spectacular visual feast of powerful falls and rapids." It's a pretty cool site!
The Aratiatia Dam was used in Th Hobbit movies (you can see it here in the newest trailer - it's when they are in the barrels going down a "river". The dam is released three times a day in the winter and it is an amazing site. The walk to the look out points are incredible and the power unleashed when the water pours out it beyond words.
We also went to Huka Honey Hive (not pictured) and Lava Glass Gallery. Huka Honey Hive was a great little family-friendly store. It was educational and tasty ;) I would highly recommend it!
Watching someone blow glass has been on my bucket list for a while now so I jumped at the opportunity. It was awesome and such a neat process. Needless to say I convinced Vincent to pay a pretty penny for a piece of glass to take home with us. I will share a post on our souvenirs later on ;)
Lastly, before we headed back to Auckland, Vincent wanted to try the Great Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge. He did REALLY well but was unable to get the $10,000 prize ;)
I wish we could have spent more time in Taupo because it was such a beautiful little city but alas, we must head out to Auckland and then Hawaii!!
|view from our room|
L.A. Post Here
Auckland Post Here
Wellington Post Here