Over the last two days TRM inmates listed 20 wonderful enticing reasons to visit Turangi. Today there are ten more for you to try to resist. Don’t fight it. It is natural emotional excitement to want more. If you need relief from daily stress, to relax and feel better, to recover from city congestion, just book now for your next visit. The “water cure” in Turangi is renowned throughout the world.
21 Fishing Tackle Shops – 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 two tackle shops for a resident population of less than 3,000. (Before Covid there was four retail shops!) 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 full range of gear. So competition is hot. You should hold off buying any freshwater fishing gear until you arrive in Turangi. We had better name them – Creel Tackle House in Taupahi Road, undoubtedly the most historical tackle shop in NZ includes a cafe as well, and Sporting Life in the CBD mall has doubled in size since last year.
22 Wilderness trails – All the surrounding mountains have tracks left over from the early logging or when they developed the hydropower scheme or from vehicle access track to power pylons so there are many un-named tramping tracks throughout the region. The deer and pig hunters know them all.
The most popular Umukarikari and Urchins tracks provide access over into the Kaimanawa trampers’ huts.
Or ask about Mt. Tihia – an unmarked track less than 5 km from Turangi to provide stunning views over Lake Taupo, Lake Rotoaira, Lake Rotopounamu and the mountains.
23 Fly fishing – Unlike most other trout fisheries the Tongariro is restricted to fly fishing only. (Only DOC can explain why. DOC – Department of Conservation manages the Taupo Fishery) The Tongariro River alone is the most popular trout fly fishing trout river in NZ and regularly will support over 100 anglers spread over 50 pools yet there will still be runs and backwaters untouched. Summer is “dry fly” time when the trout are targeting cicadas bombing the surface. The big wide Tongariro River pools in the town are famous for their evening rise. That is why we live here.
24 Hamburgers – (This is for WG) You really have not eaten a hamburger until you buy one from the Rust bar – a little place hidden on the southern side of the CBD with access from the big car park opposite the tavern. These are monstrous by any standards but it is the quality and presentation that will convince you. In TRM’s restaurant survey these were by far the most popular dining out venues – largely due to their hamburgers. SWMBO can only manage the kid’s version.
25 Sunsets – Whilst some other tourist places may also claim to have pretty sunsets they fail to register as Turangi is located at a higher altitude where the sun is bigger and the mountain air is so much fresher and cleaner resulting in brilliant sunsets that are so much more vivid. Quite unbelievable compared to the usual setting of the sun. You really have to watch one from the mouth of a Lake Taupo tributary along the eastern shore line to appreciate the glowing glory.
26 Rock jumping??? – On SH1 north of Turangi is one of the best and safest most popular rock jumping spots into Lake Taupo. Lookout as you drive north from the Motutere motor camp around the next sharp 25 km per hour corner. The huge trophy trout – often spotted cruising in the depths – are used to it and will not attack tourists. Well not usually anyway.
(Update 2021 – Unfortunately this jumping spot has been closed off by local Maoris, but is still there to enjoy lake views, rather than jumping. SWMBO – always the conspiracy theorist – suspects the main concern was a fear of trophy trout getting injured by kids doing “bombs”? Instead, we recommend the walking track from the motor camp at Motutere which winds above the lake to emerge on SH1 north of the beautiful Waipahi Recreation Reserve – aka Jellicoe Point.
27 Walking trails – The Tongariro River has various alternative walking track options in addition to the standard route – the Tongariro River Trail – for the bike trail.
One of the features of this region is the surface of crushed pumice. This provides for excellent drainage qualities making these tracks accessible in all weather. As they follow the river contours the gradients are easy and suitable for all ages. Every now and then are wide views over the Tongariro River where anglers often provide great entertainment as they cast and hook and play massive Rainbow and Brown trout.
2021 Update – Look out for the new tramping track on the TRB (True Right Bank looking downriver) between the Hydro Pool and the Kamahi Pool. Directions: Cross over the Koura Street swing bridge, turn right and head upriver across the small bridge over the Mangamawhitwhiti Stream, past the Redwoods and up the hill above the Hydro Pool lookout, then about 40-50 metres lookout for the 24 steps leading down to the scenic fern glade. This leads along the river bank to link with the old track above the Kamahi Pool.)
Other walking tracks are in all the other cute little settlements around Lake Taupo – in particular at Pukawa, Omori, Kuratau, Motuoapa, Oruatau, Tauranga Taupo River, Hatepe/Hinemaiaia, Motutere, Waihaha, etc.
28 Turangi Museum – In 1970 the Turangi museum had the largest display in NZ of pre-Maori artifacts dating from about 400 AD. These were mainly unearthed during the excavation of the Tokaanu Power Station tailrace. In 1970 over 250,000 tourists visited the exhibition but when the Ministry of Works left town at the end of the hydropower project, it was closed…
The closed museum is still there, the exhibits are now missing or stored out of public sight. It was closed by Taupo Museum. Go figure! Keep asking at the information office and one day they will realise it should be re-opened.
29 Native birds – All of these bush walks along the Tongariro River bank and elsewhere around Lake Rotopounamu and between Omori and Pukawa are very popular for the native bush supporting a wide variety of native birds.
Usually, they can only be appreciated when walking. Tuis, bellbirds, pigeons, fantails, moreporks, waxeyes, etc. are all seen chasing insects or raiding the Kowhais for their nectar close to the trails. The raiding parties of tuis in spring are a wonderful sight.
Some like fantails even sneak indoors to help us get rid of flies and other creepy-crawly insects.
Tourists love them.
(Also recently there was a report of a rare giant Moa – Clint Green provided the photo evidence?)
30 River rafting – Turangi is recognised for river rafting trips down the mighty Tongariro River. The most popular is the Grade 3 rafting in NZ with over 50 rapids spread over 14 km (8 miles) taking over 2 1/2 hours (4 hours base to base). A full safety briefing is provided. Other options include cliff jumping and river swimming. Everything is provided. All apparel including wet suits and helmets and spray jackets and hot chocolate for morning tea and the best facilities with fresh showers and changing rooms on your return. Other options include are a family fun trip Grade 2 for smaller kids and their fishing trip for bigger kids. They also can arrange trips to other rivers in this region.
(Can you recognise the lady in the back seat – on the right of the photo? Taupo MP Louise Upston researching opportunities on the upper Tongariro River for future bike trails.)
Then there are raft fishing trips on various other rivers…ask Jesse at Sporting Life for details.
Continued tomorrow with ten more reasons to visit Turangi.