It is disconcerting how much we anticipate holidays, how they fly by and how quickly we are back in the groove – and last week feels like last month. We haven’t been home a week and I have to pinch myself to remember that this time last week (how many times have we all said that) we were in Taupo, New Zealand. Aeons ago, the MOTH (Man of the House) and I honeymooned in Taupo which means it has a sentimental pull as well as being an interesting and beautiful place to unwind, catch up with family and friends.
Missionaries were the first European people to settle around Lake Taupo, they built churches and converted the Maori to Christianity. In 1869 Taupo was founded as an Armed Constabulary post although not much development occurred in the town for approximately 50 years. Due to cobalt deficiency in the soil the land could not be farmed until it was cleared and fertilised which finally happened in the 1950s. This opened the way for a larger settlement and eventually a geothermal power station and hydro-electric schemes were built.
Geothermal springs are a major tourist attraction as people visit the mineral pools for health and recreation. Because of the early development and attention to roads and other infrastructures Taupo is now a flourishing part of the Waikato a region rich in dairying, sheep, cattle, and deer farming.
Something I didn’t know about Lake Taupo is that it is a caldera which is “a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.” (Wikipedia)
Apparently when the Taupo volcano erupted the sun went hazy in China – which makes it a pretty big eruption! Part of the beautiful scenery is that just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you’ll see a volcano. The Tongariro National Park was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It is also a dual World Heritage area, which recognises the park’s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its volcanic features.
It is also the largest fresh water lake in Australasia with water so clean that brown and rainbow trout are happy to call it home. The Lake is 616 square kilometres which is about the size as Singapore! Water activities take place all year round, including water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. It is common to see a float-plane land on the lake several times a day.
We were in Taupo for a week with Wintery weather, cooler temperatures and a fair amount of rain and wind yet we were outdoors each day enjoying the walks, boutique shopping, scenery and time with family and friends as they visited us. The MOTH and I spent the best afternoon with our grandson at the animal and fun farm. The jury is still out deciding who had the most fun!