March 3, 2015 Taupo, New Zealand

We drove the Thermal Explorer Highway from Rotorua to Taupo, occasionally seeing steaming vents puffing steam from deep inside the earth amid the scenic farmland.  It was easy to see all around us where the land had been pushed up leaving tall pointed hills. After about an hour drive we entered Taupo, a beautiful town hugging the shoreline of huge Lake Taupo.  With many shops and restaurants lining the shoreline, this town PicsArt_1425590488482appeared more like a resort town.We stopped for lunch and parked in a P60 space (60 minute limit).  We noticed what appeared to be sensors in the asphalt under each car.  We surmised these must be a kind of device that keeps track of how long you have been in that parking spot.
For the first time since we arrived in New Zealand we saw several souvenir shops.  We did not see any in Thames and Rotorua only had one.
We checked into our motel with a small fridge, microwave and private patio with table and chairs where we could sit in the mornings or afternoons and relax with coffee or a drink.  No plunge pool.  Once again we were given a container of milk for coffee or tea, so Bill uses it for his cereal.
While in Taupo we visited the Aratiatia Rapids.  This once natural whitewater gorge was damned up behind the gates of the Aratiatia hydro-dam. Due to public outcry over the loss of the rapids, four times a day the floodgates are raised and a torrent of river water rages again through the Aratiatia gorge.  Beginning eight minutes before the gates are PicsArt_1425591243364PicsArt_1425591328771PicsArt_1425590743304raised and at two minute intervals, bells and whistles sound.  We had a choice of three viewing platforms and chose to hike to the highest one.  We arrived early enough to grab a geocache close by the viewing platform.  Bill showed a family walking nearby with small children the geocache and explained geocaching.  The parents were intrigued and the children thought it was really neat!  By the time the gates were raised all three viewing platforms were full of observers.PicsArt_1425590862347PicsArt_1425590925548
Also while in Taupo we visited Huka Falls.  This is advertised as one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in New Zealand.  The Falls are a 100 meter basalt crevice channeling the Waikato River over a 15 meter ledge.  The falls were lovely though we felt the viewing areas did not provide a really great view of the falls. The water flows through the crevice or channel at 62,000 gallons per SECOND!PicsArt_1425591054510
Our last day in Taupo we spent geocaching.  We searched the site and chose several caches where people had given the caches many favorite mark.  We have found that geocaching in new places takes us to beautiful areas we would not ordinarily know about and see.  And this day did not disappoint with two geocaches that led us to a cave and one with a beautiful view of Lake Taupo.PicsArt_1425590393444PicsArt_1425590130933
Some observations:
Tipping is not expected and the service reflects this.  Once your order is taken and your food delivered, you never see the waiter again.  No one checks to see if you need anything or if you like your food.  If you need something you flag a waiter down.  We learned after waiting for our check a couple times that your check is not delivered to the table.  You go inside to the register and they ring up the bill.
Salad and bread is never provided with your entree.  They are separate items on the menu.
When you order water with your meal it rarely has ice and they give you a decanter since they won’t be coming back!
If you order a burger and it says it comes with a salad, the salad is the lettuce and tomato on the burger.  After waiting a couple times for the salad that never came, we figured it out.
If you order a side salad with your entree it is delivered with the meal, not ahead of time.
The mattresses are on the floor.  There is no space between the box springs and the bed.PicsArt_1425589966804PicsArt_1425589831860PicsArt_1425589618705

1 thought on “March 3, 2015 Taupo, New Zealand

  1. karnold249

    We loved Lake Taupo. Isn’t the blue of the lake amazing. Wishing we were there with you…Texas has been cold and miserable. Have fun.

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