The bus journey from Rotorua to Lake Taupo passed by really fast, again fab countryside. I think it took about an hour. I also love the way in New Zealand ordinary bus drivers just talk away to you. In England they can be very rude and ignorant!
Before I left Rotorua, I had a quick visit to the Goverment Gardens and also Pak n Save, where I made some lunch out of pork, coleslaw, cheese and bread. I’m not sure what tempted me to go to Taupo. I’d never heard of it until I arrived in Auckland.
No-one had ever told me about it, it just sort of seemed like the next place on the map. Then I found out I could sky dive there and that they have a beautiful lake. My cousin Paul had also tipped me off about the Tongariro Crossing. It sounded like a nice place: Lake Taupo. And fucking hell was I right…what a place!
When I arrived in Taupo, I noticed how quiet, peaceful, tranquil and sombre it was. It was also Winter in New Zealand, and I felt a slight chill for the first time. Being Northern Irish this was nowhere near as cold as our Winters, but aided by the lake’s breeze and tranquility, I cooled my bones. It looked at first like a bored Portballintrae (a quiet, seaside village in Northern Ireland’s North Coast).
After checking in at the hostel, I walked by the Lake and Tongariro Street. A gorgeous walk on a cold yet sunny day in NZ winter. The plan was to Sky Dive one morning, visit the volcanoes that afternoon and then do the Tongariro Crossing (famous hike past Lord of the Rings Set and some amazing scenery) the next day. Plus get pished both nights. However it happened that the Sky Diving had been off for the last 3 days due to abverse weather conditions and the Tongariro crossing was also off. I put my name down for them both anyway, had a few beers in the Irish pub (Mulligans) and rested my head. It was also the one ocassion on my travels where I went to the pub on my own, as no-one in the hostel was keen on the first night. They sat in watching filims to rest their heads away from this Winter.
The next morning I was up early and taken in a limosine from the hostel to a small building by Taupo Airport which bore the words “Sky Dive Taupo”. Within an hour I had sang some Northern Ireland football songs to the staff, been kitted out in a blue ‘Sky Dive’ uniform and had fallen 12,000 feet out of a pink aeroplane. Yes, PINK!!!
It was a truly amazing experience, a hell of a lot more scary than the bungy jump and one that everyone should do. It changed my life. I don’t care anymore. Life, fun, culture and people are what makes a day. I got a T-shirt, a DVD, a Photo CD and an amazing fall from the Sky over Lake Taupo, all for $414 (I worked this out to be £136). It is also the cheapest place in the world to do a Sky Dive. Do it! I also met the quite beautiful Stacie Jayne there as well.
Stacie, David and Les all did the Sky Dive with me, which was amazing. We kept each other good company and calmed the nerves before the jump! Then after visiting the volcano site (Craters of The Moon) and lake that afternoon, we hit the bars and clubs of Lake Taupo to party. We needed a few beers, and drinking games were the centre, with English and Scottish people joining the Northern Irish and South African contingent in Mulligan’s Pub. I also did some dares to get free drinks, include shedding boxers shorts and being nude in public which was great crack and the lovely Stacie joined me in these.
Before I knew it, the maddest day of my life was over and the Tongariro Crossing was not on the next day, so I’d have to wait for another time. Instead I enjoyed my last glimpses of the beautiful Lake Taupo area and caught a bus to Hamilton, a larger city on the north island.
I left some dreams in Lake Taupo. They’ll be hanging round…
Bars Visited – Mulligan’s, The Holy Cow.
Beers Tried – Tui!
Nationalities Met – English, New Zealanders, South African, Republic of Irish, Austrian, Belgian, Scottish.
Currencies Used – New Zealand Dollars and Cents.
Where I Stayed – Hostelling International, Tamamutu Street, Taupo.
Price of a Pint of Beer – Around 5 Dollars. But Stacie and I did some bets to get free beer!
Transport Used – Bus, Limosine, Tiny Pink Aeroplane, Parachute, Car.
Favourite Food – em…a Doner Kebab (!).
Favourite Drink – Coffee.
Favourite Thing about Lake Taupo – Sky Diving for the first time ever. Amazing.
Moving Moment – Chilling on my own by Lake Taupo on a windy Winter day. The world stopped around me.
Key Song – Sweet Sweet Sweet Such an Innocent Girl (no idea who sings it…)
FACT – The Sky Dive at Lake Taupo is the cheapest in the world. For £136 I got a Sky Dive, a 5 minute DVD, 24 photos on a CD and a green T-Shirt. Do it!
A VIDEO I TOOK BEFORE MY SKY DIVE:
MY SKY DIVE:
Join 15,017 Monthly Readers! If you enjoyed this article and LOVE travel and SAVING money, get e-mail updates from Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel! (It’s Free) 😉 Jonny