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Reids Farm

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Reids Farm is a park beside the Waikato River on the Huka Falls Road where free camping subject to certain rules is allowed. 
It's a beautiful spot where the Waikato River winds its way gently until it reaches three channels which are shallower than upstream. The River then speeds up and moves through three channels three channels which are set up for kayaking and canoeing. There are many suspended kayaking gates which are permanently attached to wires over the river.
On the west side of the three channels is a kind of lagoon where the water is almost stagnant or not moving. This is the safest place to swim although many good swimmers try the other parts of the River. However, only strong swimmers should even think about doing this because the current is swift and there can be unseen obstacles under the water.

You can get a good idea of the fluctuating levels of the Waikato River at Reids Farm by just looking at the exposed rocks on the side. At times when the River is high these…

Craters Of The Moon

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Craters Of The Moon is a well known Taupo tourist attraction visited by thousands of people every year. It's located to the south of the Wairakei Gold Course on the same side of  State Highway 1 (SH1). It's run by a charitable trust, The Craters Of The Moon Charitable Trust which was established in 1991.

It covers a very large area of land and is mostly covered with prostrate Kanuka and low vegetation including moss. When looking across the valley it looks like one giant green and brown vegetation carpet interrupted  by steam coming out of the ground at different places.

In the old days, when the entrance was further south down SH1 it was not safe to leave your car in the car park as there were many break ins while their owners were walking around the attraction. But in recent times (three years ago) a staffed kiosk has been built at the end of the very pleasant half kilometre tree-lined Karapiti Road. So the car park is much safer than it used to be.

The kiosk has lots of to…

Rotorua To Taupo

The journey from Rotorua to Taupo can be taken by buses or private vehicles. It takes around an hour in a vehicle and is about 81 km in distance. This is if State Highway 5 (SH5) is taken all the way. There is an alternative route which splits off at Reporoa and is slightly longer at about 83 km. The alternative route has a much narrower road and there are often farm vehicles, machinery and stock on the road which make the trip slower. In the daytime however the alternative route is quite beautiful and you can stop if Reporoa for food and drink if you like. This area is the centre of the dairy farming industry in the region and be aware on hot summers' days the smell from the farms can be quite bad. There are hot pools some of which are free on the route between Rotorua and Taupo. One free hot pool system is known by locals as the Secret Spot and is accessible 24 hours a day. The entrance is opposite the honey business on SH5 about 25 minutes south of Rotorua. There are various b…

Otumuheke Stream

The Otumuheke Stream is also know by locals as the Pig Farm as many years ago there was actually a pig farm close to the location. It's a hot water stream that forms some nice bathing pools just before it meets the Waikato River. These pools are a great (and free) place to enjoy some of the geothermal water that results from the volcanic geography of the Taupo Region. Vehicles can be parked in the car park at the top of the hill which is adjacent to the Stream. This is an area that has a high level of thefts so it's a good idea not to leave any items in a vehicle that you leave in the car park. Break-ins to vehicles in this area are common despite frequent visits from the local Police. Up until a few years ago there was vehicle access from the Spa Hotel right to the top of the pools and this was great because you could keep a watchful eye on your vehicle and there was not far to walk to your vehicle after your swim. But that lower road was closed by the owners and now the onl…

Waipahihi Botanical Reserve

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The Waipahihi Botanical Reserve in Taupo is a massive garden containing plants, shrubs and trees which are particular to New Zealand and the Taupo Region. It covers around 35 hectares (86 acres) and is located at the top of Shepherds Road at the intersection of Shepherds Road and Hyde Avenue. The Reserve has a 2 km winding rode that runs around it and there are quite a few opportunities to get some great views of Lake Taupo, the mountains and Taupo township. There are particular areas of the Reserve dedicated to different flower groups such as Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas. In each of these areas there are many of the flower variety and they look spectacular when in flower. The is also an area dedicated to Kauri trees called The Kauri Grove near the end of the circular 2 km road that runs around the Reserve. That piece of the road was part of the Taupo-Napier Coach Road which ran, in the old days, from the Taupo Wharf to the previously named Terraces Hotel before it then conti…

Joan Williamson Rose Garden

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The Joan Williamson Rose Garden was named in recognition of Joan Williamson who was the Mayor of the Taupo Borough from 1986 to 1988 and the Mayor of the Taupo District from 1988 to 2001. It's located next to the Taupo Museum & Art Gallery on a level site that includes a beautiful gazebo in its centre. The photos here were taken during winter time so there are no roses to see although we will be back in the Spring and Summer to get some rose photographs. There are rows and rows of different varieties of roses which radiate out laterally from a gazebo in the centre. Each row is marked with the popular but not Latin name of the rose variety planted in that row. There are some fantastic rose names including the Victor Borge in the photo above. The gazebo in the centre of the Garden is covered in Wisteria but again it was photographed in the winter so the beauty of this plant can not be seen. When the Garden is in flower it gives off incredible flower scents that make wandering t…

Great Lake Centre

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The Taupo Great Lake Centre is an unusual looking structure which sits next to the Taupo Library. It's got both a theatre which seats up to 358 people and an exhibition hall.

The theatre has an 12 by 8 metre stage and has all the facilities required for a production.

The exhibition hall is for trade shows and products launch type events buts can also handle banquets.

In addition there are two meeting rooms, the Green Room and the Rimu room which are available for small meetings and conferences.