Day 08: Lake Taupo - Tongariro Alphine Crossing

english muffin singapore
English muffin for breakfast! 

I really really love English muffin and they are conveniently located in most supermarkets in New Zealand. But why is it so difficult, almost impossible, to get them back here in Singapore's supermarkets. :( Any English muffin lovers out there?

Where we parked our campervan for the night! 

Didn't manage to take much photos of the Great Lake Holiday Park as we were rushing to prepare our camper vans for our upcoming days. Basically to fill up the water tank, clear the waste and etc... and then quickly rushed to check-out. 

Yes, there is a specific timing for campervans to check-out for some of the holiday parks! 
I'm not sure if there is any penalty for late check-out since the place was pretty empty. Being a first timer, it's definitely better to be safe than sorry! Then again, we were actually about 30 minutes late for our check-out time and lucky to be not paying for any penalty.. 

Anyhow, the Great Lake Holiday Park was really great, well equipped with all necessary facilities. Most importantly, it's clean! Definitely living up to its 4+ stars standard! :) We paid for NZD 36 for a night in the month of May (it might be more expensive if you are going in summer months). 

The itinerary of the day was: Great Lake Holiday Park > Lake Taupo > Tongariro Alphine Crossing > Wellington Whanganui 

First stop: Lake Taupo. Formed by a volcanic eruption, the Lake Taupo is almost the size of Singapore with the size 616km² and the latter being 710km². It's one of the "must-see" on your itinerary for North Island, New Zealand. 

Since it's one of the must-see for North Island, how can we not go there? But well if you ask me after I've been there, there is really nothing much fantastic about Lake Taupo. The only reason that is worth your "places-to-visit" list, Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand

So now, may I present to you... Lake Taupo!

Posing at the "unofficial" look-out point of Lake Taupo

There are different look-out points to the lake. As you can see from the above, where we were standing aren't really the "official" look-out point. Our dear GPS Mr Tom Tom brought us there, right beside some residential houses. Ok, better than nothing right. 

As we were on our way to the next destination.. The road signage brought us to the what I call the "official" look-out point where there is a proper signage stating that "you are here overlooking to the Lake Taupo". 

There you go! The official look-out point with proper facilities overlooking the New Zealand's largest lake. 
But sadly we didn't go down of our campervan to take any tourist-worthy-photo. Well, thanks to the rain. 

Then as we continue driving.. We were led to yet another look-out point! The photos would have turned out much nicer without the dark ominous grey skies and clouds.. 

Yay! We've landed our foot on beside the New Zealand's largest lake!

Random shots during the drive. 

Trying to locate our next destination..

The next destination was the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, best known to be the New Zealand's best one day hike. It's a 19.4km track and there is different start point that you can start your walk with. 

If you wish to adventure the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I'd really recommend you to read up more before attempting it. There is a series of things you should prepare beforehand. Like arranging for transport to wait for you at the end of the track and you might also need a guide etc. There are also the dangerous zones within the walk that you should aware of. 

The initial intention was to experience the hike (a little). In the end, we didn't get the chance to do so.. Nonetheless, we managed to brave through the wind and storm for these photos at 2 different start points! 

(Via Ketetahi Road)

(Via Mangatepopo Road)

Bided good-bye to the alpine and we continued driving to the next destination. The initial plan was to drive all the way down to Wellington, the Capital city of New Zealand, and then make a loop up back to Hamilton or New Plymouth. But in the end, we decided to give that city a missed for the bad weather is making it difficult and tiring to drive and it's a really long drive.. 

Then we stopped by this random KFC along the way to settle for our late lunch and early dinner. Our quest to try all fast-food in New Zeland, Carl's Junior on Day 6, McDonald's on Day 7 and then KFC on Day 8! NZD21.90 for our tub of (6 or 8 pcs) chickens, fries, mashed potato and drinks which I thought it's so much cheaper than Singapore! 

And we ended the gloomy wet day at Wanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park. So yep, this pretty much sum up the 8th Day of the adventure! 
Overview of the driving route of the day! 


Information you might be interested in:

Great Taupo Lake Kiwi Holiday Park
406 Acacia Bay Road 
Nukuhau, Acacia Bay
Taupo 3330, New Zealand 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Wanganui Top 10 Holiday Park

460 Somme Parade
Aramoho 4500, New Zealand

Day 07: Things to do in Taupo, Huka Falls

That's where we park for the night!
If you are in Auckland and looking for a free site for a night or two for overnight campervan parking, Rosa Birch Park is the only park that you can go to! It's the only free site nearest to the Auckland city, about 40 minutes drive from Auckland International Airport.

It's a public car park adjacent to a sports court in a neighbourhood with an area catered for campervans overnight parking. So do take note that there may also be cars for the sporty folks around the car park. Not much of privacy in a sense. You may hear noises from the bunch playing in the sports court nearby but it wasn't an issue to us. There is is no dump station or fresh water supply available in the park. 

The itinerary for the day was pretty straight forward: Rosa Birch Park > Huka Falls > Lake Taupo. Day 7/31, let's go! 

Hi DuffyZai. 
Spot the moo moo! 
Stopped by this random McDonald's for a quick lunch.
NZD23.30 for our two sets of meals which seems to be more expensive than Singapore's right?
Some smoky thingy which I totally have no idea what is it! 
Huka Falls JET // Prawn Park
This is what I call the surprise finds because this wasn't something on our itinerary. Just so happened to see this Huka Honey Hive along our way to the Huka Fall. 

New Zealand's Manuka Honey is one of the must buy when you are in the country. In case you don't know, now you know. There is one whole big knowledge about Manuka honey that is widely available online if you are interested. I never really study in depth about it, in short, Manuka Honey is famous for its medical benefits. One interesting benefits is that you could actually apply the honey on wounds or ulcers to speed up the healing.

The best finds are (usually) the surprise finds. Indeed it is! Huka Honey Hive is known to be the New Zealand's largest showcase of honey products and it's free entry

This is what greeted us the moment we opened the door. 
They have a corner dedicated to educate visitors about the New Zealand bees and their amazing honey.
Free tasting of honey, mead, liqueurs and fruit wines! The honey wine is awwwesome! 
Shopping went a little crazy.. Posing with our NZD152 worth of honey products! ;)
..and finally we are really reaching our destination! 
Huka Falls, located north of the Lake Taupo, is ranked #1 of 24 attractions in Taupo on Tripadvisor - the world's largest travel site. Huka Falls are not just one waterfall, it's a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River - the longest river in New Zealand - that drains into Lake Taupo in New Zealand. 

It is also New Zealand's highest volume waterfall where the volume of water flowing through often approaches 220,000 litres per second. That's enough water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools per second! This spectacular flow of water is definitely worth stopping by or putting this into your itinerary. 

So how to enjoy the magnificent Huka Falls? What to do in Huka Falls?
  1. Walk the trails by the side of the New Zealand longest river and enjoy the falls. There are several viewpoints available for tourists to witness the impressive geographical formations. Best of all it's free! 
  2. Huka Falls River Cruise - The name says it all be! Enjoy the views of the New Zealand's highest volume waterfall on the boat that cruise for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Great option for families! NZD37 (adult) / NZD15 (child) 
  3. Huka Falls Jet - A 30 minutes jet boat ride takes you right to the base of the falls. If you are the adventurous ones, you got to try this! NZD109 (adult) / NZD65 (child) 
  4. Heli Adventure Flights - An approximately 9 minutes flight over the mighty Huka, there are different routes and durations of scenic flights available, starting from NZD99 per person. 
This is what you see from the Falls Lookout. 

and then we drove over to the Huka Falls 
Right on the bridge over the river definitely a better spot to appreciate the roaring power of the falls. 
Wished I had a video recording the loud gushing sound of the water. :(

To be very frank, I wasn't really very much anticipating about the Huka Fall initially. I mean what's so nice about this huge volume of gushing water. Probably yet another waterfall. But thankfully we made the choice to stop by there. Pardon me for the lack of vocabulary to best describe the beauty of the falls. All I can say is you just got to be there to make use of you 5 senses to appreciate the wonderful New Zealand and the amazing formation by our Mother Nature.

Left Huka Falls as the sky was turning dark.. The day length in winter is really short in New Zealand, the sun sets at about 5.30PM and that can make navigation can a little difficult.. Same for any other countries that come with seasons.

Anyhow while driving down to our final destination of the day, we spotted this lookout point where you can get a nice panoramic view of the city. Yet another surprise finds! Sadly, I didn't have the exact location of this lookout.. 

That's Mount Tauhara at the background. 

..and then the night was spent at Great Taupo Lake Kiwi Holiday Park exploring the little kitchen for the first time.  

Chef Young on the left and Master Chef on the right. 
Ended the night with a simple dinner in our little home.
Overview of our driving route of the day! 
Information you might be interested in:

Find out Every New Zealand Campsite

Very comprehensive map to show you

Rosa Birch Park

Beresford St
Pukekohe 2120, New Zealand

McDonald's Matamata
6 Firth St
Matamata 3400, New Zealand

Huka Honey Hive
65 Karetoto Road (off Huka Fall Road)
Wairakei, New Zealand

Huka Falls
Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Falls Jet
200 Karetoto Rd
Taupo 3330, New Zealand
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9.00AM – 4.30PM

Huka Falls River Cruise

Heli Adventure Flights 

Great Taupo Lake Kiwi Holiday Park
406 Acacia Bay Road
Nukuhau, Acacia Bay
Taupo 3330, New Zealand