This week TRM had an interesting meeting with Turangi’s new promotions representative – Mike Bowie – for EGLT (Enterprise Great Lake Taupo) whose role is to explore new employment opportunities in this region. He was passionate about promoting Turangi as the “Gateway to the National Park” (i.e. instead of the Trout Fishing Capital of the World?). Considering Taupo Council’s donation towards the $100 million upgrade to install gondolas etc. at Whakapapa, we understand his loyalty to his employers (who SWMBO claims are really us – hence our concern).
We argued, on your behalf, that promoting trout fishing is more important to Turangi. Mike is really on a mission so we deserted the warm TRM laundry to check out the snow and ride on the new “SKY WAKA” gondolas to report to you what they add to the Whakapapa experience.
The drive from Turangi to Whakapapa is about 55 km – just a smidgeon more than the distance to Taupo. Most of this was done in dark heavy overcast conditions with threatening rain on the Bruce Road off SH47. Even at the base of the chair lifts and the ten car parks it was dreary and not encouraging at all. Then we paid a little under $50 each to ride the swish new gondolas – I hope RAL will refund me when they read this promotion for them. We were whisked silently up through the clouds to a beautiful crystal clear spring day at the top.
From there we had lunch enjoying a magic view watching the skiers swish down the slopes. Can you spot the tiny “ants” skiing the bluff on the right? The view alone was worth the $cost and the 100km trip.
This is particularly mentioned hoping many more tourists will not be discouraged by the weather conditions below. Alpine weather is so unpredictable to accurately forecast from the lower altitude. i.e. At the bottom, in dreary conditions we needed to be togged up in our woollies to survive the conditions. Comparatively, at the top, it was spring again. Even the temperature was warm enough for all
Hopefully the images might portray the scenic wonderland at the top. Well worth visiting regardless of the weather in Turangi which is completely misleading. Even the weather at the Chateau was raining. So just do it…
Our favourite image was the kids who had been driven over 300km to broaden their recreational experience, to get fitted out in all the cool ski gear and to soar up into the heavens to the highest restaurant in NZ, oblivious to majestic scenery and powder snow, all arranged so they could play video games on their thingies. Don’t you envy them? Sometimes we cannot win. An hour later they were still lying on the floor totally focused on video games, ignoring the reason they had gone there for. Typical?
It was encouraging to see some older folk – SWMBO’s age – in wheelchairs now able to easily access the top to enjoy the scenery using the new gondolas. Now they really appreciate what a wonderful part of the world we live in.
As for Turangi being promoted as the gateway to the National Park? I would prefer Ruapehu Discrict Coucil promoting the National Park as being the gateway to Turangi “Trout Fishing Capital of the World”? And the Tongariro River – open all year with the best wild trout fishing in NZ. Seems a reasonable trade off Mike?