Here are some of the highlights from Taupo (I was there almost 2 months ago now, in mid march)
– Hilton- Quite possibly the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, definitely in the top 5. After staying in hostels for 6 months The Hilton was pure luxury. We were upgraded to a suite.
Some of the things I could not get over- Free WiFi, Free breakfast (we stole food from there to have later, don’t judge, that’s how we roll), the room was actually 2 rooms. Insane. A sitting room with a couch, table and chairs, mini fridge, balcony and then the bedroom with a king size bed. Both rooms had a TV. What? I mean the whole suite was like 400 sq ft, why would you possibly need 2 TVs?
The towels were so fluffy and there were robes. I’m not really a robe person but I used that robe simply because it was there. They also gave us little truffles every day. Oh and the pillows. So. Many. Pillows. So I’ve stayed at hostels where the pillow is paper thin. These pillows were so fluffy and big that 1 was almost too much pillow. I think there were 4 or 6 pillows total. It was excessive. There was an electric kettle in our room with free tea and coffee.
Also, we were by far the youngest people there. I mean, makes sense. I think rooms there are close to $300/ night. Not really a backpacker sort of place.
Few anecdotes- first, they had people who took our bags to our room. That felt strange. The guy just appeared with a cart and asked to take my bag. I can’t say no, right? I gave him my bag but the whole situation made me uncomfortable. I am entirely capable of carrying my bag to my room; I mean, I’ve carried this bag a mile and half to the bus stop on my own, I can handle going around the corner and up an ELEVATOR. They had an elevator. Color me surprised (not that I ever took it. I think I took it once, actually, maybe twice). It felt extraneous. We were on the 4th floor, why do I need an elevator? I had to walk up 187 steps to get to my old hostel.
Also, when we checked in the woman said “Let me know if the pillows are too firm for you. We have others if you’d prefer something else.” I stared at her. Wide eyed. Shocked. Excuse me? Pillows have options? What sort of alternate reality is this?
The first morning it was maybe 65F outside. Mostly cloudy, but perfectly acceptable weather to sit outside on the patio and have breakfast. When we got our food we asked if we could sit on the patio and the guy said “Yes of course. But it’s cold out there. See? No one is sitting outside. It’s chilly.” Umm… No. It is not chilly. I had shorts on. With a hoodie. But still. SHORTS! Those people are weenies.
– Eating Out
I don’t eat out in NZ. Ever. Unless someone else is paying for it. I had eaten out a total of 3 times, all paid for by someone else. In Taupo though, we went out to dinner. TWICE! The first time we went for Mexican. Oh it had been a long time since I had a mojito and tacos. The second time we went for Italian. Pizza and pasta. And wine. Nom nom.
– Pak n Save- I’ve written before about my love for Pak n Save, but again, I must profess it here. We got some good stuff there. Whittakers chocolate. Nashi pears. Apples. Nuts. For cheap.
– Lake- Maybe this is obvious but Lake Taupo is beautiful.
– Sunsets-The lake has a beautiful sunset. I am pretty sure that every night we walked down to the lake to watch the sunset.
One night we even had a picnic on the grass. Beautiful.
– Skydiving- See my previous post. Definitely a highlight, not just of Taupo but of my entire trip to NZ.
– Tongariro- Also lovely. Recap coming.
– Mountain Biking- The second day we were in Taupo we rented mountain bikes from the Hotel and rode to a “waterfall”. So the ride itself was…fun? Maybe not fun. Certainly challenging and not at all what I expected. The map said it was a mountain biking trail but I think it was a walking trak that they then closed to pedestrians. It was very narrow, steep and had a boatlaod of tight turns.
The “waterfall” wasn’t actually a waterfall. It was rapids. Fair enough, they were impressive but it was definitely a misnomer. One could not confuse it for a waterfall. Ever. I made the executive decision to take the road back to the hotel. I was not up for going back on the same trail or trying out another trail that could end up being just as, or more difficult.
The road was decent. It was very hilly, not surprising as I don’t think any place in NZ is flat. It was also quite hot out and we were in full sun. We did eventually make it back to the hotel in one piece but we were pretty tired. And sweaty. And gross. Luckily there was a lovely, lovely pool to hang out at.