Going to New Zealand? This rough and brief travel guide will show you What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat and What to See traveling between Wellington and Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Continuing on from Wellington on our way to Lake Taupo we were traveling along the N1 on the North Island of New Zealand visiting small towns such as Foxton, Bulls, Taihape on the way to Lake Taupo where we had already booked accommodation.
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The first town we reached was Foxton. This is off the main road, but the guide book said it was a lovely town so we decided to take a look. Foxton is like a step back in time, not in a bad way or behind the times, rather Foxton has manged to keep the old town look and feel in a nice way.
Windmill and Tram in Foxton, New Zealand
The main feature is the Windmill which was brought over from Holland, bit by bit and build by people who had never built a windmill before – by reviewing the plans for the structure. There are horse drawn tram rides, an electric trolleybus, old style streets – I was told there are plans to make Foxton a hub of activity with kayaking, walks and other things to do. We enjoyed about 2 hours here before getting back on the road, taking a nice coffee and snack in the cafe near the Windmill.
From here we traveled back on the N1 again and on passing through a town called Bulls we just had to stop and take some photos. The shops are all BULL Oriented, e.g. the local realtor / estate agent has “live-a-bull” as his tag line, the town hall centre has “soci-a-bull”, and so on to Taihape where we had decided to take lunch.
Fun signs in the town of Bulls, New Zealand
Taihape is another very nice town, almost like small town America, worth taking an hour or so to enjoy, plenty of nice cafes to take a snack in.
The town of Taihape, New Zealand
On the last leg to Lake Taupo, back onto the N1 we go via the desert road, part of which is a military area, with an amazing landscape.
As soon as you see Lake Taupo for the first time you will have a few opportunities to stop into the left and enjoy many of the viewing areas, with incredible vistas of the lake. I’m sure there have been an accident or two with drivers looking at the nice view and not the road. Its still another good hours drive to Lake Taupo – so far its been about 6 hours since leaving Wellington.
Lake Taupo, Viewing Point with Snow-Storm moving in
After about 45 minutes we enter into Taupo and arrive at the Millennium Hotel which sits on the waterfront with amazing views of the lake. The Millennium Hotel also has a really nice outdoor heated pool, no problems using it in winter as it is quite warm. The restaurant there is very nice and we enjoyed a buffet there on arrival – only $39NZ per person which was very reasonable.
Lake Taupo with the Mountains covered in Snow.
We later found out that the desert road was blocked by snow and we made it to Lake Taupo with 4 or 5 hours to spare before the snow trapped people on the desert road.
Lake Taupo – To Be Continued … ( Lake Trip to Maori Carvings & Craters of the Moon… )
This picture of an amazing Cloud Formation which I spotted when driving alond the desert road in New Zealand (the N1 road towards Lake Taupo). Its like something from the start of War of the Worlds or the new alien feature, Skyline.
Amazing Cloud Formation spotted in New Zealand – Looks like a UFO is just about to break through the clouds…
Below is a close up of the clouds shows the weird formation which I had never seen anything like before.
Close-up of the weird cloud formation
Going to Wellington, New Zealand? This rough and brief Wellington travel guide will show you What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat and What to See in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is a lovely little city, much nicer than the business oriented Auckland – Wellington is one of the nicest places we visited in New Zealand and is a place where the pace of life is as nice as the people you meet there !
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On arriving in Wellington it was a real change of pace from the metropolis of Hong Kong and the city buzz of Sydney. One of the first things you notice is the quaint / small town feel you get from the moment you leave the airport. Some very nice sculptures along the way also. We were staying at the Copthorne Hotel in Oriental Bay – a hotel which was so nice we stayed at the Copthorne / Millennium Group Hotels during our whole stay in New Zealand.
Wellington, New Zealand – View from Cable Car station near Botanical Gardens
Wellington is a great place for relaxing – the pace is not that of a capital city which of course it is. Our first stop was the botanical gardens, as it is on a hill which overlooks the city – get the cable car to the summit (not the type of cable car which you might think – more of a vernicular).
Flowers in the Wellington Botanical Gardens
The view is stunning and there are plenty of walks which should keep you going for 2-3 hours. The restaurant in the Botanical Gardens is really good and service very fine meals, hot drinks and desserts. not to be missed also is the observatory which has a 3D projection tour of the night sky which is a very relaxing way to spend a half hour.
Alien Toilets? – Fun Sign at Wellington Observatory
Food in Wellington is not a problem. Cuba Street is one of the places where you can find good food at any time. One of the places we tried was Simply Paris, 181 Cuba Street. Welcomed by a french waiter, the food was excellent and the ambiance was very authentic – would certainly return here if in Wellington again.
If you are looking for a good view of Wellington, you should try going up to Mount Victoria which has an observation point giving a 360 degree vista on the area. Out hotel said we could walk it but if you do walk it, bring oxygen, as it is a fairly strenuous hike !
View from Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand
If you want to do something more cultural, the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa located on the sea front is worth going to. About 4 floors of artifacts, pictures, videos and interactive exhibits (many of them stuffed which I didn’t like too much) – it is a great way to get to know more about New Zealand and the Maori people who inhabited New Zealand before the white people colonised the islands. There is a restaurant here which is quite nice – the main courses were decent and very tasty but the seafood chowder which we got was not really chowder but some sort of seafood broth – I like my chowder but it was not great. They do however do a good coffee / cappuccino!
Look out in Wellington for the variety of sculptures – many of which are moving in the wind. The best of them all is the Smarties which is located along one of the main streets ( which you can see on Google Street View by clicking here)
We really enjoyed Wellington and would certainly return. A relaxed city with lots to do, good food and nice people – you don’t find that every day.
From here we hired a car, and progressed up N1 route North, visiting Foxton, Bulls, Taihape, en route to our final destination Lake Taupo.
I’m just back from a trip to Hong Kong, Sydney and the North Island of New Zealand.
Over the next few blog posts I am going to upload some posts about the best places to stay, eat and go as well as the best trips or sights to see in Hong Kong, Sydney and New Zealand (including Wellington, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Auckland and Bay of Islands).
The first of these posts will appear next week along with some pictures etc….
Just a quick post today on what I think will happen today in the World Cup Matches.
Looking at yesterdays post, it wasn’t too far off the mark (scores not 100%) but the Win Lose Draw was 3 out of 4. I didn’t think Australia would have won yesterday. Great to see USA topping the group also – England v Germany should be a cracker on Sunday and on last nights performace England have to do a lot better to get past Germany (great goal from Worzel last night – he had his scoring face on last night!)
Todays World Cup match predictions are ….
Paraguay v New Zealand
Would love to see New Zealand win this one and that might just happen. Most probable outcome is a draw or 1 goal.
Putting neck on Line I think New Zealand to win 1-0.
Slovakia v Italy
Easy … Italy 2-0 (Unless they do a France, have a big fight and can’t play for sugar!)
Cameroon v Netherlands
Netherlands are through but I think they will keep the pressure on – probably a Holland win 2-0.
Denmark v Japan
Tough call – Both have weaknesses that the other can exploit … Both need to win to be certain of qualification!
Maybe Denmark to win 1-0.