Tourism is NZ’s biggest most important ‘industry’. OK? Tourism is what Turangi does best. Better than any other town in NZ. True! This is such a competitive business so this week TRM reports are dedicated to ‘tourism’ with evidence to show off what we have to offer. What does it really mean in Turangi? Everything! As it is the future for Turangi we take it seriously. Now we are past the shortest day, the winter solstice, TRM inmates need to dispel any winter gloom and plan ahead. So we need to consider again what are the more important tourist attractions in Turangi that other regions cannot compete with.
SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed manages everything at TRM so guests do everything She asks) suggested TRM inmates submit their basic reasons. (This was after She read a list of 50 reasons to visit Sweden. So She applied it to Turangi.) To try to be fair to other struggling wannabe tourist towns, She stopped it at around 50… There are so many interesting holiday activities providing 100% pure enjoyment that we have to limit you to 10 reasons per day for the next five days to control your blood pressure excitement levels and avoid stress overload and work burn out. So to start with the obvious:
1 Fishing – What a surprise! Turangi is well known internationally as the Trout Fishing Capital of the world. Historically that is why so many visitors came here since it became recognised by the Queen mother as Duchess of York and American author Zane Grey in the 1920’s. No other trout town has such a colorful history. No argument about that. Nothing more needs to be said.
2 Nature – Turangi is surrounded by unspoilt National Parks providing for every taste from easy accessible native bush forest tracks to challenging mountain trails to rock climbing up above the snow line. Did you know that Sir Edmund Hillary prepared and trained for his epic feat (First to climb Mt. Everest) in Tongariro National Park. True! So hopefully it is not too late for you too?
3 Water – Imagine 100% pure drinkable water – arguably the best fresh water in NZ. No pollution from tainted ground bores. Starting from snow melt, filtered through the pumice and virgin native forests, so good that the trout thrive in it, then directed north via Lake Taupo and Waikato River for the rest to pollute it. Anglers regularly refresh their taste buds directly from the Tongariro River. The way the rest of NZ is going, seemingly unable to stop the deterioration of waterways and lake blooms, this may soon be Turangi’s greatest asset? You really have to taste our river to appreciate what water is supposed to be like. Perhaps we should bottle it and export it?
4 Autumn – At this time of the seasons the Autumn colour parade throughout Turangi is finished. About fifty years ago the entire town was planned along English specifications and planted with deciduous species representative of “old England” – trees lining every street. These have all now matured to provide a natural maturity that cannot be matched any other way – a garden city atmosphere to welcome visitors to admire their size and colours. Their size and vigor also illustrate what a wonderful climate we enjoy in Turangi. The Autumn Festival used to be the prime time in town.
5 Mineral Pools – Hot mineral pools to soak in and make you all tingly and your skin will feel like velvet afterwards. The therapeutic qualities cannot be over estimated. Directly straight out of mother earth – wonderful natural springs are why the early people first settled here. The pools are in keeping with the age of Turangi and Tokaanu and facilities look rather tired, But do not be fooled. The therapeutic quality of the water is amazing. Make sure you also go for the relaxing short volcanic loop walk after to adjust your equilibrium. There are mud pools bubbling and look out for steam holes still regularly used for cooking your trout while you bathe.
6 Shopping – Turangi has no internal shopping malls to waste your valuable vacation time. This is local shopping like it used to be fifty years ago. There is ample parking with no traffic lights or congestion or parking hassles. When you visit Turangi you can concentrate on real recreational fun sports and leisure activities instead.. The retail CBD design is iconic – straight out of the 1960’s. Perhaps it should be preserved as future art deco? But do not be alarmed by the vacant shops – Turangi shopping centre was designed for a population of over 7,000. Now only 3000 residents survive here so naturally there are a few vacant. The Taupo Council long term demographic projections indicate it will fall further by 25% in the next 20 years unless the new tourist bike trail proposed is completed in time to reverse that trend.
7 – Trout Centre – A must visit for all big and little kids to view trout underwater and talk to trout and marvel at native fish in the fishy museum and appreciate the benefits of a wild fishery. It is compulsory to buy a tub of fish food and give some to the trout in the pond and save the rest for the river walk. Here you can feed wild trout that will be waiting for you along the Tongariro River edge. Ask about the kids days during public holidays and school holiday times when hundreds of kids catch their first trout. This is the only way you can buy a trout in NZ. The Kids Day can guarantee to catch a trout and smoke it to perfection. View the video:
8 Waterfalls – While you are on Mt. Ruapehu make sure you walk the two hours loop track to the Taranaki Falls. You can even walk under the water-fall which tumbles over the edge of the original lava flow. This is such a goood experience we send many who were originally planning to walk the Tongariro Crossing but the alpine temperatures and changeable mountain weather changed their plans. They were lucky as this is just as good. There is also a choice of cafes at the end of the loop track.If that is too long there are other easier 20 minute walk to Tawhai Falls. Nature at its best.
9 Architecture – You cannot help but admire the 50 year old architecture of the 1970’s. Much of the village remains in a time warp as it was when the Ministry of Works (Uncle Mow) developed the town – the first town in NZ with underground power. Wow! As indicated by the huge mature trees , it has now matured and shows how suburban life in NZ was supposed to be like – spacious dwelling sites, all one level, all very similar in style, all of a similar traditional state house type construction pattern. Any where else it would be boring but now the village has matured to become atypical of 1970’s architectural design. Many are owned as holiday homes so do not be alarmed at the deserted streets and easy parking and lack of any city monsters called traffic jams and congestion – they are quite unknown in Turangi. It has hardly grown at all in the last forty years.
Turangi residential development is split by SH 1. On the eastern side of SH1 is the original fishing town of Taupahi which is so cute and favoured by so many retiring anglers. They survive their remaining years by applying the most rewarding and satisfying therapy to keep them young for ever in the Major Jones Pool.
10 Mountains – Climb the highest mountain peak in the North Island the hard way – you can drive up above the pretty Whakapapa village for much of the way and then climb on board the skiers chair-lift for half the journey. Then the summit return trip is reduced to 9 km (compared to 20 km on the over crowded Tongariro Crossing). There is no marked track so make sure you pick a fine day. The Ruapehu climb is very under rated, away from the crowds of tourists who all have to wait to queue up on the Tongariro Crossing. From the top you really can see forever. Another advantage has to be a choice of cafes to assist recovery time when you complete the descent. Highly recommended by TRM inmates. View the short video below – to demonstrate the excessive crowding on the Tongariro Crossing and to celebrate my 70th birthday a few years ago:
That is enough for today. Tomorrow we continue with a further 10 wonderful reasons TRM inmates suggested why they prefer to holiday and stay at Turangi – don’t miss it.
A last additional reason to book now – do not procrastinate on your holiday plans – do it now – the image below looks like SWMBO on holiday…