Ten more reasons to visit Turangi…
Continuing from yesterday…Fifty reasons to visit and stay in Turangi.
As Toe-paw council now try to promote Turangi as the “Gateway to the National Park” (?) these fifty reasons are to encourage tourists to stay and play here instead. OK?
TEN BETTER REASONS TO PLAN FOR YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY IN TURANGI
Yesterday TRM listed the first 10 of 50 (yes that is fifty!) reasons why tourists visit Turangi and return again and again. The first ten reasons are always the easiest… Today we continue with the next 10 in no particular order… (Note that these wonderful holiday attractions are only available if you stay in Turangi – i.e. Taupo, aka Toe-paw, is fifty km north on busy congested SH1 – much too far away to bother with…)
11 – Lakes – Such a wide variety of beautiful mainly uninhabited bush lined natural volcanic lakes, from the largest lake in NZ – Lake Taupo – to tiny hidden lake – Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) to Lake Kuratau or to privately owned lakes (Lake Rotoaira – see image on right) to trophy trout alpine lake – Lake Otamangakau. These may look over-full at maximum levels but that may also be because of displacement pressures caused by zillions of large trophy trout that inhabit these lakes waiting for anglers.
Lake O. is a man-made lake, or more of a large alpine puddle created at the exposed head-water swamp of the W(h?)anganui River as a hydro storage dam. This shallow lake has now developed into our trophy fishery. A magic place on a good day, a hell hole on a cold windy day (when it is closed off for spawning in winter).
In Tongariro National Park there are more – Tama Lakes are the main feature on the day trip from Whakapapa Village to the Waihohonu Hut off the Desert Road. There is even a summit lake on the top of Mt. Ruapehu. All scenic beauties with their own charm – they are so good that each could qualify as a tourist destination.
12 – Skiing – New Zealand’s largest most popular ski field being totally redeveloped this season but you do not have to be a proficient skier for the new kids “Happy Valley” facilities and more learner ski runs and adjacent facilities, cafes, etc. than any other in the South Island. New enclosed high-speed gondolas (aka sky wakas) have replaced the old chair lifts. These improve tourist access to the upper slopes up to the Knoll Ridge cafe – 2020m elevation – even on windy days when the ski fields used to be closed off.
An enjoyable refreshing memorable affordable relaxing family day out just a 40-minute drive from Turangi for photo images that last a lifetime.
13 – Cafes – Turangi has at least eight cafes at last count from the historical converted fishing tackle shop at Creel (photo above) walking distance from TRM, to modern purpose-designed at Hydro to Bakehouse Cafe in the mall to the Coffee Container on SH1 to several others all welcoming and waiting for you.
All that competition makes sure you will get good value wherever you dine.
14 – Beaches – Fine pumice beach on the edge of Lake Taupo, all 100% pure “swimmable” water, no tides, safe swimming, boating (easy to launch trailers) off the beach, what more could you ask for? Yes, I know. OK – you can also watch and fish for huge savage trophy trout chasing smelt into the shallow edges where they are so easy to cast to (except when I go there). The fresh clear lake water sourced from snowmelt in Tongariro National Park and filtered through native bush and pumice via tributaries in the Kaimanawa National Park is almost becoming a rare commodity elsewhere.
How can you put a $$$ value on that?
15 – Pies – World famous pies from Turangi Bakery. Ask any fisho or tramper – they are so nutritious they will keep you going for the rest of the day. The pie shop opens at sparrow’s fart with such a huge range they are known throughout the land. SWMBO likes plain mince but the locals have potato tops as favourites.
16 – Bike Trails – The Tongariro River Trail ticks all the boxes for a friendly tourist bike trail around the Tongariro River in a figure-eight configuration over two swing bridges to provide a choice of 3 km loop with views over Lake Taupo to a 10 km loop up the river or combined at 13 km.
For biking nuts, a longer real challenging mountain bike trail takes 3-4 hours, 43-50 km depending on the route – mainly downhill from Tree Trunk Gorge – route notes only available at TRM. This trail has more diversity than any other in NZ. It starts on a long downhill road in the back of nowhere, joins a DOC trail crossing three shallow streams, joins another walking track to the bridge over the scenic gorge known as the Pillars of Hercules, then back on unsealed deserted road to wind around to the first shelter, then another unsealed bush road to cross the Tongariro River over the Poutu Dam, then joins a forestry trail to link with the speed section, the canal under SH1, then the second famous drink-stop to link with forest trails to join the Tongariro River Trail back to Turangi. The trail includes two covered shelters for rest-drink-stops, the first is at a DOC camp and the second has to be kept secret – restricted to TRM inmates only. But long after bikers have forgotten the route they will remember the iconic second drink-stop.
Then there are more remote bike trails like the Timber Trail = 84 km over two days through Pureora Forest with a wonderful new lodge now built for an overnight retreat. Or for a day trip it is hard to beat Waihaha Trail about 50 km from Turangi up SH32 on the western shores of Lake Taupo to include a beach trip as well as the view over Tieke Falls.
17 – Wild Blackberries – One of the best places in NZ to stroll along riverside trails and collect wild organically grown blackberries in season – the bucket will not be big enough so you may have to eat the overflow.
18 – Native Forests – Endless hiking trails through towering gigantic Kaimanawa forests vary from natural forests with the full range of native species such as Rimu, Totara, Kahikatea, Beech, Pungas, and many others that SWMBO cannot identify, to pine trees for miles. Some of these are hunters favourite spots so wear appropriate bright clothing.
19 – Sculpture – Lookout where ever you go for fishy-themed sculptures from main road giant anglers to garage roof anglers to fancy weather vane finials to fishy footpath, fishy letterboxes to gates to giant flies to many more unique to Turangi – too numerous to list. What a good time-wasting holiday project for the kids to see how many they can spy?
20 – Maori Heritage – Lookout in the CBD for a very special shop (just past Sporting Life tackle shop) dedicated to weaving ancient Maori patterned arts and crafts with a team of devoted native Maori weavers. If you ask ever so politely, certain items such as bags and shawls may be for sale. They are genuine cultural treasures.
(Update to 2021 – this shop is now closed and has been relocated – ask at Sporting Life. If you cannot find it, try the popular Op Shop located next to the Supermarket behind the chemist. Visiting Op Shops should be registered as a new ladies sport in Turangi)
Tomorrow the list continues with ten more tourist holiday attractions in Turangi.