10 more reasons to stay in Turangi 11 to 20
This is an update of a TRM Report from June 2018. TRM must have anticipated the tourist crisis following Covid?
Headlines in NZ newspapers scream out the same panic: Kiwis are the only hope as tourism looks for a future.
Sub-heading: Now overseas travellers have vanished, the tourist industry will try persuading locals to see NZ first.
Well pardon me but some of us have been doing that for the last 16 years!
As many of NZ’s 250 hotels (with rooms of 50 or more) are now closed or used for emergency housing… Don’t start me on that! So many of those remaining open do so with skeleton staff (I would hardly call SWMBO a skeleton?) to help stranded tourists, guests in self-isolation, essential service workers, etc. TRM could have been in that category but Turangi continues to attract tourists almost regardless of the covid lockdowns and Australian bubbles restricting international travel.
So how do we revive domestic tourism?. Turangi desperately needs to be promoted. In the time we have been here the billboard welcoming tourists into town has changed three times – from “Trout Capital of the World” (what a great slogan!) to “Source of the Lake” to “Gateway to the National Park”. These latter two were dreamed up by a council who obviously had no idea of what Turangi has to offer. Now, at long last, the tourist attractions of Turangi are being recognised again – i.e. see the new logo below:
So the following is an update of our 2018 report with some minor updating. Tourism was NZ’s biggest most important ‘industry’. 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. TRM inmates dispel any Covid gloom and plan ahead to enjoy their holidays. So we need to consider again and evaluate 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 boredom burn out. So to start with the obvious:
Yesterday TRM listed the first 10 of 50 (yes that is fifty!) reasons tourists should visit Turangi and return again and again. The first ten reasons are always the easiest… Today we continue with the next 10 – 20 in no particular order…
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.
Have a squiz at TRM’s one minute “slide-show” of Lake O. – 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. Go to: https://www.youtube.com/embed/gjnP3ImfB7A?feature=oembed&rel=0
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 ski field was totally redeveloped with a new gondola – sky waka – now operating. 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. The gondolas improve 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 and memorable affordable relaxing family day out just a 40 minute drive from Turangi for photo images that last a life time.
13 – Cafes – Turangi has at least eight cafes at last count from the historical converted fishing tackle shop at Creel (photo on right) to modern purpose designed at Hydro to the Mustard Seed in the car park to Bakehouse Cafe in the mall (try their potato top pies) 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. We should also comment on the latest classy restaurant in town since we composed the 2018 reports. TRM inmates have been raving about the Hare & Copper Restaurant – located on Grace Road just out of town.
14 – Beaches – Fine pumice beach on the edge of Lake Taupo, no tides, safe swimming, boating (easy to launch trailers) off the beach or in river mouths nearby, what more could you ask for? Yes, I know. OK – you can also watch and fish for huge savage 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 snow melt 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 or truck driver – they know! The pies are so nutritious they will keep you going for the rest of the day. The pie shop opens at sparrow’s and has such a huge range they are known throughout the land. SWMBO prefers plain mince but the local favourites 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.
Go to: https://www.youtube.com/embed/F2_Q6CxQ4SQ?feature=oembed&rel=0
For biking nuts, a longer real challenging 50 km mountain bike trail takes 3 -4 hours from Tree Trunk Gorge – route notes only available at TRM feature a very special unique place for the halfway drink stop. Unfortunatley we cannot announce the location on social media, or we might end up banned or in jail! Long after you have forgotten the ride, we promise you will remember the drink stop! Then there are more remote bike trails like the Timber Trail = 84 km over two days 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 remote beach trip as well as the view over Tieke Falls.
See video. https://www.youtube.com/embed/oH8gnZbkUdM?start=13&feature=oembed
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 – Forests – Endless towering gigantic forests vary from natural forests with the full range of native species such as Rimu, Totara, Kahikatea and many others that SWMBO cannot identify to pine trees for miles. Some of these are hunters favourite spots so wear appropriate bright clothing. If the tramping tracks into the Kaimanawas – Urchins Track or Umukarikari Track – were in the South Island they would be one of the “Great Walks”. But in the central plateau region with three National Parks, they are just another track…
19 – Sculpture – Lookout where ever you go for fishy-themed sculptures from main road giant anglers to garage roof anglers to fancy finials to the fishy footpath, fishy letterboxes to giant flies to many more unique to Turangi – too numerous to list. The favourite sculpture for the Ladies Fishing Tournament is a gate with a huge wrought iron trout. You will have to ask the ladies from Taupo Fishing Club for their “gate photo” as they would not allow TRM to post it…
20 – Retail Therapy – In the last report there was 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 weavers, but they have moved premises so you might need to check with the iSite. A range of bags and shawls were for sale. They are genuine cultural treasures. Even Rotorua cannot compete with the traditional skills on show in Turangi. It is reassuring to see the ancient skills being passed on down the generations.
But in case you cannot find out where they have gone (?), we need to replace them with different retail therapy in tackle shops. Turangi has four fishing tackle shops, each with their own special charm. Turangi has more fishing tackle shops than Taupo or Auckland! First is the oldest tackle shop in NZ on Taupahi Road – Creel with new owners since our last report. Second is the biggest – Sporting Life, also with new ownership. Third is the friendliest Grieg Sports in the mall. Fourth is the latest addition in the mall since the last report, offering guiding services. Sporting Life promote trout fishing on social media with regular blogs from Neil or Andrew. Also Tim from Grieg Sports does his popular daily video chat from the river bank at various town pools on the Tongariro River. Extraordinary selection and plenty of choices for a little tourist town – better than any other town in NZ.
Consider this comparison. Taupo has two tackle shops for a population of about 25,000. That is one tackle shop for every 12,000 residents. OK. A similar pattern is evident in many other fishy tourist towns. But in Turangi there are three tackle shops for a resident population of less than 3,000 – one for every 750 residents. But there is more… Other tackle shops closed when they discovered they were selling more ‘online’ than over the counter.
There are also several other well-established tackle dealers’ businesses operating undercover through their websites. Some have just fly patterns. Others offer a full range of gear. So competition is hot. You should hold off buying any freshwater fishing gear until you arrive in Turangi.
So that brings up 20 reasons to visit and stay in Turangi, but there are still 30 more compelling reasons that other tourist regions cannot compete with – watch this space tomorrow…