This is a beautiful place, not too big, and it is rather up market for a backpackers. If you are like me and don't want to spend an evening with a bunch of 20-somethings, this is the place to go. The outside covered deck is great, there are lots of comfortable spaces to spend a few hours with a book, glass of wine or just enjoying some company. The top feature has to be the very cute dog and the manager was helpful about what there was to do in the region, and there is a lot more than just the crossing.
This is a wonderful place, so chilled, so international. We are not in the first flush, y'know, but when we were here we just didn't care. Sharing food on the decking (there are windchimes, a hammock, and aromatic herbs!), with elderly Aussies, alternative young Germans, and a Swiss school leaver, I felt, oh, just bloody fantastic. A and I lounged around in thermal pools at Tokaanu, two miles away, and then we all did the legendary Tongariro crossing, with advice and transport laid on by the hostel. Afterwards, we sat around comparing injuries and generally talking international bollocks. Free range eggs, assiduous recycling, herbs you can pick and add to your dinner- just try it. You'll remember what you were like before you got old and boring.
A beautiful little place on the shore of the lake and away from all the tourists! It's one of the first Maori settlements, so really historic and has lovely little baches to stay in among the most amazing native bush.
There's loads to do, swimming, fishing, hiking etc. Ideal for families but it's quiet enough to get lost in the beauty of it all, so ideal for friends to just stay and chill out like we did.
There are natural hot pools close by and the mountain is also a short drive away for skiing. It's a great place to stay on the way to somewhere else as it's in the middle of the North Island. We stayed in a little bach for only £40 a night and it slept 8! Keep away from the big towns I say, and get back to nature!
The Huka Jet is a 30 minute high speed jet boating experience that shows you the spectacular Huka Falls and whizzes you past cliffs at 80km per hour. It does a 360 degree spin, and, at times, you get so close to the cliff walls that you can almost feel them graze your ears!
Afterwards, lunch at the Huka Prawn Park right next to the Huka Jet is delicious.
Near Taupo - if you are staying in Taupo, a courtesy coach will pick you up from your accomodation. It costs NZ$79, which is a bit pricey, but a unique experience. Oh, and I advise you to book!
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