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Tuesday, 04 December 2007

Taupo, New Zealand on a Budget - Page 4

Written by Lydia Horrex
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Eighteen hundred years ago there was an explosive volcanic eruption - the largest the world has seen in 5,000 years. The Chinese noted a ‘blackening of the sky’, and the Romans recorded ‘the heavens turning fiery red’. Much of New Zealand’s North Island was covered in a thick layer of pumice. Today we can still see the result of the volcanic eruption: Lake Taupo. The lake covers an impressive 622 square meters, an area the same size of Singapore

With deals such as Auckland to Wellington for $10, it’s worth looking into coach travel around the country. Intercity (www.intercity.co.nz) and Newman’s coaches (www.newmanscoach.co.nz) offer efficient service and fantastic prices if booked early (for the best deals, book 2 months in advance). The journey from Auckland to Taupo (278km) is around four hours, with prices varying from $14-$60. From Wellington, the journey is a little longer (380km), around five and a half hours, with prices ranging from $30-$60.

Getting About

Once in Taupo, there is no need to feel bound to your vehicle. It may be helpful for those out-the-way places, but chances are you’ll miss out on the hidden treasures that give Taupo its individuality. This is a great opportunity to get out your walking boots and leave the car behind. The town is easy to get around by foot, and plenty of Taupo’s attractions are within walking distance from the center.

Although there is no specific transportation system in Taupo, local bus timetables can be collected from i-SITE Information Centre (07 376 0027) on Tongariro street. Taxis are readily available; the two main companies, Taupo Taxis (07 378 5100) and Top cabs (07 378 9250), both operate from Taupo bus station. Renting a bike can also be a great way to get out and experience some of the amazing views around the lake.

Where to Stay

Regardless of your budget, Taupo maintains a high standard of accommodation. This includes anything from the world-famous Huka Lodge (www.hukalodge.com), from $600 a night, to basic backpacker hostels.

It is advisable to book your trip well in advance. Popular months are December through March (New Zealand summertime), with January being school holidays. For example, even for a weekend in September, I was unable to book my room of choice with Berkenhoff Lodge Hostel (07 378 4909), and that was making reservations over a month in advance.

Sunset Lodge (07 378 5962) proved to be a pleasant enough hostel to spend my vacation. A private room costs $30 a night, and is cosy enough. Although a 45 minute walk from town (and a scenic one at that), Sunset Lodge is a stones throw from the lake edge, and nearby the previously mentioned activities on the south-east side of Taupo.

Taupo, NZA love for the outdoors is something all visitors to Taupo share. Whether you are in need of a relaxing break, wild adventures or getting closer to nature, this is an all-round favorite Kiwi holiday destination. Thrill-seekers will be pleased to find widely advertised and easily available ways to dispose of their holiday spending money. For the traveler on a budget, however, trekking through the scenic landscape or soaking in a thermal bath can provide a vacation just as memorable.


Please note all prices are in New Zealand dollars.

© Lydia Horrex

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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