One, the largest lake in the North Island, the other one located on the South Ilsand and one of the most photographed of all the Lakes in the world due to its intising colour from its glacial and volcanic location. Both beautiful, both freezing in temperature, both worth a visit, but which one would you choose.
Lake Taupo was my first destination, a 616 square kilometres Lake full of fresh mountain water on the North Island, NZ, formed from once being a super volcano over 300,000 years ago. The water so fresh you can have a drink from it, it was delicious actually.
The best way to see this stunning lake, is from the air, one of the biggest tourist industries here is the adrenaline filled Skydiving, 10,000 13,000, 16,000 ft are all options with the same target, LAND! With insane views of the lake, and the bragging rights for at least a month, its a must do in New Zealand.
One of the other must dos is to visit the 14 metres high contemporary Mauri rock carvings of Ngatoroirangi a priest when the settlers came to New Zealand over 35 years old. I visited with Sail barbary for sunset, which meant I could relax with friends, enjoy the inclusive food (takeaway pizzas wheey!), and then if you need a little bit of a wakeup go for a plunge in the 14 degree water. I must in New Zealand, while singing along to the onboard music, and BYOB rules it makes for a perfect end to the day. The best is the captain who drives you round with stories and banter to provide a great atmosphere. – https://www.sailbarbary.com/
Huka Falls which is an hour away from Taupo is a huge surge of water rapidly squeezing down one narrow valley, then finally reaching a pool at the bottom . The colours around and in the falls is beautiful all kinds of turquoise blues and natural greens.
The lake front has so many interesting views and activities, as well as just areas to relax and watch the world go by. With the golf hole challenge, where you hit a ball onto an island to win £10,000 dollars. I tried didn’t quite make it, the bicycle installations and the eye catching Taupo sign. Ofcourse nothing can beat the Great Lake Taupo in front of you but still.
This small, unknown town is also the location of The coolest Mcdonalds I have ever seen, with a plane as a seating area! Thee perfect treat after a full day of hiking and you are in need of a treat, I wont lie I had a mcflurry then another one after the Tongariro
Once you have the food of choice, make sure you head down to relax and watch sunset over the lake from the continuous Lake path which gives you stunning views, and magical colours all across the sky.
Lake Tekapo was one of the destinations I couldn’t wait to visit when I arrived in the South Island, NZ. The Mauri meaning is “To leave in haste at night“, which is so relevant due to its well known connection with the night sky. A pace with little phone service, some of the busiest skies for stars in the world, and the most beautiful tones of flowers framing the lake, its like something out of a fairytale.
The famous Lupin Flowers which are the star attraction to alot of keen instagrammers and nature photographers due to their bold, bright and beautiful looks surround Tekapo Lake. From pink, purple and even white tones creates a natural watercolour of scenery which looks incredible against the Lake water. They are seen in the summer months from November to March being the prime time to really go photo mad in the area.
Along the main settlement on Tekapo is a hot pool spa centre, which creates a perfect location to enjoy during the day or within the night sessions which lets you soak in the Jacuzzis while looking up at the stars.
The walk along the lake from the Spa brings you to The Tekapo Church of the Good Shephard, pays respect to the story about James Mackenzie, a Scottish shepherd turned sheep stealer who in 1855 discovered the basin that now bears his name when he, with the help of his dog , drove flocks of sheep inland to avoid being discovered. In the process discovering Lake Tekapo. It was built on a mound of earth very close to the Lake with a beautiful stone, and you often see people being married in the small little church, what a setting to be wed.
The Tekapo University Observatory is on top of the Mount John Hill which looks over the entire 360 degree views of this spectacular bright blue lake, and the mountains surrounding it in the distance. There is a road up for people who want an easier way up by van or taxi. The hike itself is steep, and will be a good 2 hours to complete the hike but with the views this good who wouldn’t want to do it.
When the sun sets, the famous Midnight star gazing is a must around Lake Tekapo which is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, with one of the best night skies in the world, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. On a clear night you can go on tours upto the observatory to see the milky way, the zodiac signs. For me, myself and friends all headed to the lake shore, with blankets, snacks and some terrible singing by all of us, chatting on the floor looking up, giggling and just enjoying an evening which was seriously magical.
Overall I could of spent more time in both locations, both were magical and exciting in their own ways. With geography, science and nature being the main ….. of why they are so popular. Make sure to save some of itinerary