Walking and meeting people we know! Taupo Lake, New Zealand


This place is the centre of NZ’s North Island and so beautiful. People aren’t exaggerating about the stunning scenery here, it is truly incredible.

On the advice of the nice lady at the motel where we are staying, we went for a walk to see the Huka Falls. This was even more lovely than expected. Again, the main surprise is the crystal blue water. The photos on this blog post are not photoshopped. This is the colour of the water as we strolled towards the cascading falls. One of the best walks, I’ve ever done, if not the best one. Also, the colour of the foliage is incredible. The light of the sun, gleaming onto the leaves gives a magnificent, surreal glow.

The falls themselves consist of 200,000 litres of water plunging nine metres off the rock face every second! This amount of water could fill an Olympic pool every minute. It is not advised to attempt white water rafting here because the falls have claimed the craft of many river users.

The clear, reflective racing water before the falls is just as breathtaking. Although it is fun to see the tumbling bubbles, hear the noise and enjoy the natural beauty of Nature at work. Apparently the flow is so strong it prevents the migration of trout and eels which isn’t surprising.

The volcanic caldera that forms Lake Taupo drains into Huka Falls and it is quite magical to walk this trail. It is also great to see all the young people chilling out by and in the water too. Certainly more fruitful than staring at screens all day!

The next day we took a drive around the lake towards Tongariro National Park and enjoyed the close up vision of Mount Ruapehu and Mount TongarIro and surrounding area.

The landscapes are incredible. The massive waters of Lake Taupo and momentous panorama peaks of Tongariro National Park, ancient forests, rivers, falls does make this road trip memorable. Unfortunately, we were feeling a little delicate…

The evening before, we decided to explore the local restaurants and bars. After a rather strange meal of bread coated steak, vegetables and chips we admired the momentous sun sets and went in one of the lake front bars. As I was enjoying a drink, I couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t gawping at the sun set over the mountains (mentioned above). Suppose if you live in NZ, you are used to the impressive sights.

Anyway, we went to another bar and I thought I recognised the chap buying a drink. Told hubby thought I’d spotted his friend’s son. My husband started randomly shouting his name and he turned around. He confirmed his identity and invited us to join them. Crikey. We had a great evening discussing NZ, etc. What are the chances of walking into a bar and recognising your friend’s son from our home town, in England? Small world or what? We couldn’t believe it! Has this ever happened to you? Another great evening.


Enjoy the break everyone and a Happy New Year to you all. Thanks to all those who’ve supported my blog and I look forward to writing some more posts soon. 


Andy 🙂


Road Trip

After the Great Barrier Reef experience, we’ve been making our way towards Sydney. This is going to take a few days with stops along the way.

First though, we had a few hours on the beach at Alex Head. It will come as no surprise the beaches are superb in Australia. They seem to fill up early and then the crowds dissipate as the day goes on.

Southport (Gold Coast)

We stopped on the Gold Coast at Southport in the terribly glamourous hotel called Meriton Suites and it was pretty sumptuous, I can tell you. We acquired a really cheap deal and thought it might be a dump haha. Think it’s the poshest place I’ve ever stayed in. Like a penthouse suite and with a most spectacular view from our balcony..

Unfortunately, the surrounding area was a little bland so it shows you need to check the location too. However, we enjoyed getting out and about to a local craft beer bar on the tram. The place is called House of Brews and had the most beer taps, I’ve seen for a long time.

Tamborine Mountain

We also ventured out in the car, during the day to Tamborine Mountain. This is a beautiful area, with a picturesque road full of individual houses as unique shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. We wandered around and my husband bought a shirt, then went back and purchased two more.

The Tamborine Skywalk followed this shopping expedition. Oh wow, what an eco adventure offering a thrilling exploration through the rain forest. You walk 300 metres up on steel bridges and it is a bit scary when it wobbles! A magnificent walk seeing tumbling creeks, rock pools, various plants/trees, butterflies, birds and such a great way to explore the rainforest canopies.

Just before we headed home, we went for a stroll towards Curtis Falls. The trail goes off into a woodland and I was worried we might become lost or disoriented. It had good directions though and was a great walk through the Aussie natural environment. We also met a chap with family at the falls and he took our photo. This was well worth doing as the falls are stunning and gave us some much needed exercise too.

Byron Bay (Gold Coast)

Onwards towards Sydney, and we stopped at the famous Byron Bay. Oh my goodness me, another Utopian feeling came over me. So we clamoured out of the car, we looked towards the sea and saw a bloke singing and strumming a guitar, as you do, in the middle of a parkland area, over looking the most glorious coastline. The sea is so blue. We chilled out and enjoyed the ambience then wandered around the bohemian type shops. I purchased a couple of summer dresses and chatted to the friendly Aussie who was born in Spain but raised in Melbourne and gave us a glowing account of New Zealand.

So off we went again. This time we stayed in a hotel at Cotts Harbour which was ghastly. Tiny, faded, dirty, no plug for the sink although the bed was ok. After, the last place, it was dreadful. The same company’s hotels in Europe, are always basic, but the decor is good and has everything you need. Not here and never again, but we’ve learnt from it. You do need something more than a bed when travelling hundreds of miles.

At least the pub was fine and we had a decent curry in the local town. Looking forward to some home cooked meals again though. Hopefully, we can acquire a unit in Sydney for a few days. (Units are small flats/apartments with kitchen facilities.)

Oh, and we sat in the pub wondering why they shut at 9pm, and suddenly realised New South Wales are on a different time zone to Queensland. Oh, the fun of travelling.