Previous four TRM reports have each listed 10 reasons to visit Turangi, yet more good reasons – such as the most popular one day walk in NZ (had you noticed it had not been listed?) – still keep emerging. These were originally listed by TRM inmates in response to a series of fifty reasons listed to encourage tourists to visit Sweden. For Kiwis, in Turangi we have it all.
If you have survived through the 40 reasons over the last week then you get rewarded today with a variety of short TRM videos as a special treat…
41 High Tea – A special treat, very popular with wives and partners of anglers, is to take a trip up to the Chateau on Mt. Ruapehu for their High Tea. A memorable trip back about 70 years to an Edwardian drawing room setting complete with chandeliers and everything you ever imagined a ‘high tea’ might have.
Some lucky guests hire TRM’s elderly driver to deliver them in a classic vintage Bentley – more appropriate regal style to fit the occasion.
42 – Five minutes to everywhere – TRM had a special request from anglers from West Island to advise of any facilities within a five-minute walk of TRM so the following video was prepared specially for them. Later we learnt that all they wanted to know was how far to walk to the Tongariro Tavern… (Have a special squiz in the short video below at the Turangi version of a corporate box at the rugby – admire the stressed-out crowd! Life cannot get more “laid-back” than that…)
43 – Traffic congestion – Turangi does not have a word for “traffic jam” or “congestion” in their vocabulary. Not even any traffic lights or scooters. On Turangi streets there are no such irritating delays. To try to look up-to-date the Toe-paw Council installed a taxi stand but Turangi does not have any uber taxis. (One exception is a certain classic vintage airport taxi used for special fishy guests from a quirky motel) No need for uber in a small town – we can walk everywhere. The CBD is surrounded by spacious car parks that have never been filled in the last twenty years.
The nearest we could find to a local traffic snarl-up was “grid-lock” on Taupahi Road in rush hour close to TRM where your usual city driving rules keeping to the left etc. were completely ignored. Just perfect…
Welcome to Turangi rules.
44 – Local canine attractions – Many guests visit Turangi so they can take their friendly dogs for walkies down the Tongariro River tracks. Some especially nice motels are “pet-friendly”. Regular TRM inmates include anglers who cannot go fishing without their pooch. Other guests love the riverside ambience to let their dogs off the leash to be dogs again after the restrictive life on busy city streets. In the evenings a stroll along the Tongariro Riverbank is often more like a kennel club meeting.
(2019 Update: This pets friendly offer is now limited to regular inmates (Hi Lizzie) only. Sadly some guests booked through OTA’s – Online Travel Agents – and arrived and created problems with large dogs that were not acceptable for any motel. We trust you will understand…)
45 – Tongariro Crossing – How amazing to get to Number 45 before listing the most popular one day walk in NZ. Over 140,000 walkers per year cannot be wrong. Perhaps they love crowds? This clearly shows how many other activities take place in Turangi. As it is on everyone’s bucket list we provide a brief “safety” video to warn inmates to be prepared for the alpine weather when some guests climbed Mt. Doom (Ngaurahoe). The shuttle bus services are cancelled every time the weather deteriorates so a Plan B is essential. Ask for Plan B at TRM reception. It is a much better option than Plan A…
Another warning. If you hope to find yourself (?) or lose yourself (?) in the alpine wonderland, this is not the place. It gets very crowded. OK? Ask us for other unmarked tracks in the Tongariro National Park if you wish to climb a mountain – i.e. Mt. Tihia? – all on your own. Many prefer discovering their own trail in mature unspoilt native bush as more soothing and memorable. Or we have our own special “Big Day Out” mountain bike route – four hours long – which you will never find on any map. Much more fun.
46 – Stress relief – Have a brief perusal at the following brief slide show of Lake O below and concentrate on your pulse and blood pressure to feel any stress signs just drift away. That is what Turangi is all about. There are so many wilderness walks and places where you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
47 – Historic sites –
Located on SH 47, Te Porere Redoubt is the historic site of the fighting in 1869 between the Maori rebel, Te Kooti, and government troops. This was the last battle of the Maori wars. After 150 years these man-made fortifications remain intact. The well preserved layout resembles a little fortified castle. Kids will love it.
The walk to the first redoubt is about ten minutes to the clearing. However, it is well worth the few extra minutes uphill through dense bush to the second and more impressive redoubt, where one can imagine the fierce fighting that occured.
48 – Lake Otamangakau – This is the best trophy trout fishing lake in New Zealand. Recently the Fishing & Outdoors newspaper featured an article about a TRM inmate who we called K (for Kayak). After 100 visits to Lake O since 2013 he has landed 629 trout – an average of 6.29 per day. Quite extraordinary when you also factor in that he only goes at peak times over Christmas and Easter holidays. The short video is of another inmate Stuart Nicol showing how effective and easy TRM ‘water-strider’ rafts are on Lake O…
49 – Water therapy There are several choices so to avoid confusion, they have been labelled like a genuine serious tourism report:
49 A Tongariro River The most popular local swimming relaxing aquatic playground in a very natural setting is the Breakfast Pool. Anglers should note the local kids think it all belongs to them and TRM often get complaints of them throwing stones and showing off to each other when fishos approach. The kids often float down from above the swing bridge. This does not assist the fishing prospects. Anglers are reminded to limit wading and casting to early mornings – before 10 am – or evenings when the kids have gone.
49 B Turangi Turtle Pool is a modern indoor heated complex located in the CBD providing four heated pools to provide for every requirement. These include:
49 B (1) A 25 m (1.1m deep) lane pool for serious training and recovery stuff.
49 B (2) A learners pool (0.9m deep)
49 B (3) A toddlers pool
49 B (4) A new aquatic climbing wall 3.5m high.
49 B (5) A bombing aquarobics pool (1.8m deep).
49 C Tokaanu Thermal Pools These offer thermal heated (39 to 41 C) therapeutic private pools with a (chlorinated) public pool (36 to 38C) and toddlers have their own splash around pool beside the main pool. Open from 10am to 9pm. Children aged under five are free.
The local Maoris settled in this thermal area beside the Tokaanu Stream around the 16th century. European invaders started to use the pools once Tokaanu was established as a major stopover on the Wellington to Auckland “Grand Tour” route – via the W(h?)anganui River to Pipiriki, then by stage coach to Tokaanu overnight before catching the steamer to Taupo from the still remaining, well preserved historic Tokaanu Wharf.
Near the Tokaanu Thermal Pool is the Tokaanu Hotel. The old Government Tourist Department originally built the Tokaanu Hotel nearby. It has seen better days… Back then earlier in the 20th century this hotel was right up there with the Chateau Tongariro and Wairakei Resort Hotels catering for the growing international tourist trade.
49 D Lake Taupo Within a short drive on SH1 north of Turangi is Frethey Drive providing access to a pleasant beach with toilets. This is a very safe beach for kids swimming or sun bathing. The building structure is the Turangi Yacht Club. The unsealed track off the end of the huge car park leads to the mouth of the Waiotaka Stream. If you examine the “Turangi Tongariro Activity Map” you will have difficulty locating this stream. It is missing! That is obviously deliberate – a cunning scheme to confuse tourists. In many other famous trout fishing meccas, the locals have to keep some streams off any tourist maps to add to the mystique and provide some quiet uninterrupted peace for themselves. OK? Hint, hint…
Inquisitive perceptive readers may have noticed TRM’s spelling often follows the recently corrected (?) pronunciation for “Taupo”. The latest tourist booklet produced by the Taupo Council confirms the pronunciation as Toepaw, just in case you were wondering… TRM is always so pedantic and sooo pc.
50 Thermal walk Another under-rated tourist attraction is the thermal bush walk beside the Tokaanu thermal pools. It is easily missed. After you cross the footbridge (look out for trout in the Tokaanu Stream) turn left from the pool reception and take the short walk around the spluttering bubbling farting steaming hot mineral mud pools. Look out for steam rising from holes in the ground – this is where locals cook (steam) their trout while they are having a dip. (TRM inmates cooked Christmas dinner in there one year!)
That almost completes the fifty reasons to visit Turangi region but we forgot one so this is a bonus… Another tourist curiosity – possibly unique in NZ? – is the bridge across the tailrace on SH41 below the Tokaanu power station. When they developed the hydropower scheme, a major engineering challenge was the site where the Tokaanu Stream crossed in front of the power station. Apart from being an important trout breeding stream, this is also the source of drinking water for Turangi. The engineers re-routed the stream under the SH41 bridge over the tailrace. Very clever…
When they excavated the tailrace in front of the power station they discovered deep down various pre Maori villages, many graves, etc. from about 400AD (i.e. 800 years before Maori invaders arrived). The human remains were reburied nearby – see image below – above the thermal pools. That makes this the oldest cemetery in NZ, but that is another story… There is so much interesting history in this area but you need to stay here to discover more.
Beyond Tokaanu is a private Maori village known as Little Waihi. This has a wonderful scenic waterfall (see image above) but casual visiting is not encouraged by local inhabitants. So all you can enjoy is our images instead.
The following short video prepared by a guest – thank you to Murray Cullen – and provides a brief impression of the up-river loop only. When we were looking for a tourist to ride the trail with Kiki we had more volunteers than we had guests. Only in Turangi…