I’m currently in Taupo, which is just about smack dab in the middle of the North island.
I’m staying with my mom’s friend (who I’ve also biked with and know). She is from NZ but lived in Sebastopol for a bit. She moved back here about 3 years ago and lives really close to town. It’s been great to have my own room and home cooked meals, plus a personal tour guide!
The town of Taupo sits right on Lake Taupo, which is NZ’s biggest lake. Supposedly the whole island of Singapore can fit in the lake! I’ve included a picture below with the measurements, but keep in mind it’s the metric system. I know it’s bigger than Lake Tahoe and that’s pretty massive!
Lake Taupo is actually the crater of a volcano that erupted 26,000 years ago. The lake is still surrounded by other volcanoes though. Due to this, there are natural hot springs along the rivers and even some hot spots in the lake!
Given its location, it’s a super active community. They have a big bike race at the end of the month (it’s about 100 miles around the lake) and have two big triathlons here (both a half and full ironman). There’s also a ton of hiking and mountain biking trails, and in the winter they’re only about an hour from skiing.
We went up to Huka Falls one day, which are some big rapids on the Waikato River, which flows out of the lake. We also went to Aratiatia Rapids dam; every two hours they open up the gates of the dam into the river and it’s neat to see all the water gushing!
One of the main things to do here is hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is across three volcanic peaks that border the lake. It’s been closed for the last 4 days due to really windy weather and snow, but it’s opened up for tomorrow so I get to do it!
Check back for an update on that!