Glide Time – Taupo Gliding Club

Mike’s keen to learn to fly a plane, but lessons are expensive, so instead I bought him a voucher to go gliding with the fine folks at Taupo Gliding Club. It costs $205 for an instructional flight that lasts 20 – 40 minutes depending on the weather. You get to take control of the glider, in Mike’s case for about 5 minutes.

Seat belt on and under instruction at Taupo Gliding Club

Seat belt on and under instruction at Taupo Gliding Club

The glider was a GTG, Mike sat at the front and the qualified pilot behind. Mike found it easy to understand the instrument panel and flying … Read the rest

Kaimanawa Wild Horses

I opened the envelope of one of the best birthday presents ever last year – I was going on a bus trip to see Kaimanawa wild horses roaming on NZ Army land in Waiouru. Whoop Whoop – the sound of a dream coming true. The Ranges Trips are organised by Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, I was going in November, so there were two months to wait, and like any trip, the anticipation added to the excitement. I spent time wondering  …

How far would we travel to see our first horse? Not far at all. How many wild horses would we Read the rest

Wairakei Terraces Walkway, Taupo

It costs $18pp to walk the Wairakei Terraces Walkway, we suggest checking out Bookme and GrabOne as they often offer 50% discount for both the walkway and thermal pools ($25pp not discounted). We got 50% discount via GrabOne and given the walk is short (around 30 minutes) and doesn’t have the variety of geothermal activity as some of the other sites we think at 50% off it’s good value, at $18pp not so much.

Wairakei Terraces - modelled on the Pink and White Terraces lost in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption

Wairakei Terraces – modelled on the Pink and White Terraces lost in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption

At the start of the walkway you see water … Read the rest

Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk, Taupo

One of the best reasons to visit Craters of the Moon is price – at $8pp it’s affordable, and the good folks at The Craters of the Moon Trust donate part of the income to charity. The 45 minute walk is also pushchair and wheelchair friendly with the exception of the 10 minute uphill detour to the lookout.

Close up of the snowy mountains in Tongariro National Park from Craters of the Moon lookout

Close up of the snowy mountains in Tongariro National Park from Craters of the Moon lookout

Craters of the Moon is part of the Wairakei geothermal field. The steaming craters came to life in the 1950’s with the development of the … Read the rest

Orakei Korako Geothermal Park, Taupo

There are a number of geothermal sites in Rotorua and Taupo and they all have their own claims to fame – ‘Orakei Korako is arguably the best thermal area left in NZ’ (Lonely Planet), and ‘Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland – one of the 20 most surreal places in the world’ (Trip Advisor).

Orakei Korako - photo taken from geothermal area looking back at the Visitor Centre / MudCake Cafe

Orakei Korako – photo taken from geothermal area looking back at the Visitor Centre / MudCake Cafe

It makes it hard to decide where to go if you have to choose. My aim with posts about geothermal attractions is to highlight what we think are the best reasons for … Read the rest

The Fast and the Curious in Taupo

I knew Mike was having the most fun when he roared down the straight in the Holden V8 at Taupo Motorsport Park. He was kitted out in racing gear and had New Zealand’s version of ‘The White Stig’ in the passenger seat. This Stig talks on camera and off and it’s his job to guide drivers round the track, he also has his own set of pedals incase things turn to custard. (The real Stig and his custard).

Mike & 'The Stig' - Taupo Motorsport Park

Mike & ‘The Stig’ – Taupo Motorsport Park

Mike had no issues out on the track, but pre-race he came … Read the rest

Giant flowers & glass forests at Lava Glass

It was difficult to pick a favourite piece in the Lava Glass sculpture garden in Taupo. I really liked the glass waterfall made with a series of shell platters that trickled water gently down a rock slope to the pond below.

Shell platter waterfall

Shell platter waterfall

And who wouldn’t want a bouquet of these giant glass flowers in their garden?

Striking giant flowers at Lava Glass

Striking giant flowers at Lava Glass

Even more unusual are the glass forests in giant paper weights. Some of the trees looked to me like petrified silver beet leaves, and the flowers looked like candy. They’re not ofcourse, leaves and lollies would … Read the rest

Storehouse, Taupo

Storehouse cafe / homeware store / florist is in an unexpected location among the tyre fitters on Runanga Street. The cafe is in a former workshop and there’s a steel roller door to open up on a sunny day. On our visit the door was closed and keeping in the heat from the fire that was rising up to meet us on the mezzanine floor.

Storehouse, Taupo

Storehouse, Taupo

Lovely little almond and orange friand

Lovely little almond and orange friand

Food wasn’t on my radar as I’d not long had breakfast, but I decided to have an orange and almond friand anyway. Blimey it was good, enough … Read the rest

High Tea at Chateau Tongariro

A beautiful setting can be the icing on the cake of a good high tea, we found this to be true at Chateau Tongariro.  It’s been a while between high teas, visiting wineries for a platter and a glass of wine had stolen my affection. However it’s winter Down Under and driving from Palmerston North to Rotorua provided the chance to break our journey in the Tongariro National Park.

Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Chateau Tongariro is a grand old lady, she’s just celebrated her 85th birthday and original picture windows provide a view of Mount Ngaruhoe (Mt Doom to Lord of … Read the rest

Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo

It’s been a while since I dipped my toes into the Mediterranean Sea in Greece and had a stein of beer in a Munich beer hall, but that’s where Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo took me. The upstairs Bier Kafe was once a Greek restaurant, it’s been redesigned with Austria and Oktoberfest in mind.

Bier Kafe at Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo

The Bier Kafe at Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo retains a Mediterranean feel

There’s an alcohol free German beer on the menu, and you can get a one litre stein for around $18. Crafty Trout’s Austrian lagers, ales and ciders are brewed downstairs and have fishy … Read the rest