Kia ora: Turangi
Tourism research website blogs advise TRM that forward-thinking ‘moteliers’ (like SWMBO?) need to respond more to prospective guests new hunger for local experiences by moving beyond their traditional motel brand marketing effots.
i.e. What guests really want to know is:
What’s right outside your front door?
Where can they find the best local fare?
Where can they catch a good happy hour?
Where is the best running track?
Where can they buy locally made items thay wont find anywhere else?
Motels need to concentrate on local and neighbourhood content.
Each week the NZ Herald Travel Supplement on Tuesdays reviews a small town. Now the tourist season has started so today it is Turangi’s turn for their own updated version. This is the BIG one…
As Turangi has not been featured by the NZ Herald since 2013, Tongariro River Motel have prepared a completely unbiased (?) local version using the same format for tourists consideration…
An abbreviation of Turangitukua, a Maori leader who must have been a great fisherman. Their tribal land was acquired to develop Turangi township during the 1970’s. Excavations for the Tongariro Power Development unearthed 16 pre-maori villages, 246 pre-maori dwellings, artefacts carbon dated around 400 AD, etc. originally occupied by Moa Hunters, Fairy folk and Hobbits.
About 2900 and, strangely, still steadily falling. About 1970 it peaked at over 9000 for the Tongariro Hydro Development but in 12 years since 2001 census, Turangi resident population fell 14% while the rest of NZ rose 11%. About 64% are permanent resident occupied homes with 36% holiday homes.
Half way to everywhere – located where SH 1 crosses the Tongariro River and surrounded by National Parks with dual world heritage status. Midway Wellington (320km) & Auckland (310km). Midway Napier & New Plymouth. Midway Hamilton and Palmerston North. Midway Tokoroa & Taihape. Midway Paradise and Heaven.
“Trout Fishing Capital of the World”. When the Taupo Council tried to relabel the town as “The Source of Great Lake Taupo” a Facebook appeared to “Save the Signs” to reflect the passion of locals for trout fishing. They have since removed the offending “source” sign to restore local pride.
Source of Pride:
Trout Fishing Capital of the World. Tongariro River is a world renowned trout fishing paradise offering wild fly fishing all year with over 50 pools. More books have been written about trout fishing on the Tongariro than any other river in NZ.
Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Wild trout. Trophy trout. Big trout, Huge Trout, Giant trout, More trout.
All TRM inmates plus others who loved Turangi since the 1920’s include American author Zane Grey (returned three times to write about it), Duchess of York (the Queen’s mother), Queen Elizabeth, President Jimmy Carter, film stars and many other celebrities – an incredible world famous trout fishing reputation.
Best fishing guides include Kenny Drummond, Shane French, Mike Hughes, Rob Henderson, Bryce Curle, Peter Wilton and several others “flying under the radar” (Hi Frank) – all very good – inquire at TRM… For boat fishing on Lake Otamangakau or Lake Taupo contact Michael Rowntree. For casting lessons – Carol Harwood.
Best local website:
Tourist industry built around the trout fishing on the Tongariro River – 8 motels, 8 cafes, various B&B’s and backpackers – offering something for everyone – from upmarket superior lodges to low cost camping ground.
Festival at Easter features the many autumn colours from the mature deciduous trees that predominate through Turangi.
Best reason to stop:
The National Tongariro Trout Centre is hard to beat. It includes a trout fishing museum, underground viewing chamber to view trout in spawning stream, and several times each year they hold a kids day – a guaranteed way to catch a trout in Turangi. Now they even farm trout for local iwi. Amazing…
Turangi library or Tongariro Trout Centre (trout farming factory?) or hike around the (1 hour) loop track from the Koura Street swing bridge past famous fishing pools and up and over the hill providing wide views over Turangi and Lake Taupo beyond.
Stand on SH 1 road bridge and watch the action from the queue of anglers in the “Troll Hole” perfecting their combat casting. This would easily be the most popular trout pool in NZ where they all catch trout. Great entertainment.
Best place for ‘happy hour’:
Turangi Tavern – recently refurbished, pleasant friendly family hotel atmosphere offers an excellent budget menu or for mid-day caffeine hits there are 8 other cafes.
Turangi Tavern cannot be beaten (i.e. Venison & cashew nut salad $19 !) and offers such extraordinary value.
Turangi Bakery’s pies are famous throughout NZ.
Creel Cafe, foodies heaven – healthy breakfasts and delicious finger food in an historic setting -. Taupahi Road.
Tongariro River Trail loop north of Major Jones Pool bridge is 1 hour, loop trail south to Red Hut Bridge to return via the Trout Centre – 15 km – 2 hours. Joggers can add the north loop to extend it to 20 km.
Just out of town is the 2 hour circuit of a hidden Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) winner of the NZ Herald’s readers favourite secret touristy place (or something like that?).
Lake Taupo – the largest most stunning lake in the North, South & West Islands erupted about 30,000 years ago on a Wednesday – best views from the lookout on SH47 about 6 km from Turangi or from the lookout track above the Tongariro River or climb Mt. Tihia (1165m). .
Tongariro River Trail. Out of town is the Waihaha Bay loop on western side of Lake Taupo or south is Tree Trunk Gorge to Pillars of Hercules trail.
The feasibility study for an extraordinary new scenic bike track is being completed – the T2T – Taupo to Turangi along the lake edge.
Best tourist hike:
Tongariro Alpine Crossing – it is so good that Taupo (50km North of Turangi) tried to claim it as well. It’s on everyone’s Bucket List. Can get quite crowded on fine weekends. A better more challenging alternative option away from the crowds is to climb Mt. Ruapehu in summer only.
Rafting NZ have trips for all ages – recommend the 2.5 hours 14 km Grade 3 over 50 rapids raft fishing trips down the Tongariro River.
Stump Bay – about 5 km north of Turangi on SH 1 provides safe swimming in Lake Taupo – nature’s 100% pure playground..
Lake Taupo for a natural beach playground or locally outside the indoor swimming pool in the town centre includes a skateboard park.
Best Kept Secrets:
The lower Tongariro River has the biggest Brown trout spawning area and nursery in NZ so Waikato Regional Council are using it for a gravel quarry.. True!.
Turangi has hidden the only underground power station in the North Island just off SH 1 – a must visit for tourists but Genesis wont let you see it.
A new tourist bike trail is being planned from Taupo to Turangi (T2T) that will knock the socks off any other in NZ. TRM predict it will become the most popular bike trail in NZ. Watch this space…
Best cultural experience:
Walk through Turangi’s mall past Sporting Llfe tackle shop towards the Art Gallery you will be surprised to see the wonderful Maori Weaving school in action – sometimes their beautiful finely crafted ethnic works are for sale. Then spend an hour admiring the art works in the gallery.
Turangi – a town with heart – dvd.- hire or buy from Civic videos
Trout, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Wild trout, Trophy trout, Big trout, Huge trout, Giant trout, More trout…
Raiding parties of Tuis in Kowhai trees along the Tongariro River Trail are unforgettable in springtime.
Te Porere Redoubt – on SH47 – historic battle site where a Maori rebel Te Kooti built a medieval castle so the Government Colonial troops could find him. Both won?
Best Garden Sculpture:
The biggest trout fly in the wold on corner of Poto and Kokopu Streets overlooking the Tongariro River.
When can we book again?
I came to Turangi for a season 20 years ago.
Best images to reflect life in Turangi:
(1) On right – a corporate box at the footy…
(2) Below – a Turangi traffic jam…