Here’s a photo filled updated on our last Labour Weekend in Taupo. This was the first weekend we have been away with the bikes on the back, and it was superb. The sun was out in all its glory all weekend and we were wearing shorts, tshirts and jandals (flip flops!) all weekend long. Shown above is one of the views on the ‘Desert Road’, Highway 1 on looking towards one of the volcanoes on the Tongariro crossing. I was at the top of the mountain on my last trip looking into the steaming crater, and it was also ‘Mount Doom’ in one of the Lord of The Rings films.
It was quite a long drive but when you drive past some of the scenery alongside the ski mountains you can get over that quite quickly.
We managed to get onto a great free camping site, Reids Farm, which was just 3km out of town. We thought we’d only stay here one night then move on somewhere a bit more peaceful but it couldn’t have been better so we hardly moved the van all weekend. We were parked up by the riverside, with free basic toilets and never had to pay a penny…..but we had somewhere to ‘spend a penny’ when we needed to
On Saturday we never even moved the van which was a great feeling – we managed to cycle directly from the van, straight onto the mountain bike trails and spent 6 hours cycling and were also able to see the Huka Falls, and the Craters of the Moon. We had both seen the Huka Falls on our last visits, but Ciara hadn’t seen the Craters of the Moon before which is a geothermal natural park where you can see the volcanic vaults steaming, and the bubbling mud pools….along with the stink of sulphur in the air.
We both love Taupo as its probably the most touristy part of the North Island, slap bang in the centre, and right on the edge of a massive lake which is actually the filled crater of an old volcano….so large you can hardly see the other side of the lake some days. You have a great view of the volcano’s and snow covered slops of the Tongariro Crossing (one of the NZ’s best walks) and the ski fields of Mt Ruapehu. It is also one of the best trout fishing areas of the world, and you can do pretty much every activity you want from here – fishing, (for prawns too in the hot pool farms!), scenic flights from seaplanes, hiking, biking, parachute jumps (this is where Ciara did hers a few years ago), jetboats and loads more. The following pictures are of the Huka Falls and the jetboats that do up the river to them.
Unfortunately it is also the home of some great outdoors shops….but we managed to behave ourselves. Our only real indulgence was going to the burger takeaway which was our only spend the whole weekend which was great. When Ciara can get gluten free burgers like the one below, it’s a bit of a no brainer….we even had to take it back to check that it wasn’t real bread!
There was a fair on as well so we also saw some pretty weird and wonderful vans so we know what we want to trade up to as well when we’re really settled here : (only kidding!) The other photo is of the Craters of the Moon geothermal park.
I think most of you will also know by now that we have decided we are going to apply for our residency as well. It’s hard call as its so far away from everyone but it also seems like the right thing to do to give us options in the future. We hope that it will get turned around quite quickly but there’s a lot of form filling, a bit of waiting and several checks to be done in prepration for our hopeful invitation to apply.
This weekend we’re going to be hanging around Wellington to try and do the admin for the forms above. We’ve had a pretty uneventful week apart from looking up immigration websites. We’ve had our last classroom fishing session and will be taken out for a practical session at the beach down the road from us on Wednesday, then we’ll decide whether we’re going to buy a rod for our road trip or not. Hope everyone is well back home – it’s a great thing that we can get in touch with people easily through Skype despite the awkward time difference. As much as we love being here just now, and can’t wait for our road trip we do miss everyone! (and our local pub – The Shore in Leith, Edinburgh).