Now that the holidays are over, we can all breathe a sigh of relief as the little people return to school. Time to set about planning a holiday for the adults - and let’s face it, after two weeks of entertaining the kids or coping with the bustling crowds, a weekend away is in order.
My top 5 winter getaway picks of this iconic destination, Lake Taupo, are:
Take the extra challenge of completing New Zealand’s most popular one-day hike and do it in the snow with Adrift Outdoors. It's a real challenge to complete this walk in winter so it is best done with an experienced guide from Adrift Outdoors. Pack your winter woollies because trekking across active volcanoes in deepest winter is not for the faint of heart, but the epic vistas and turquoise lakes, steaming vents and jagged rocks will make you feel like you’ve been to the moon and back.
Ski or Board Mt Ruapehu
If you are a snow bunny at heart or merely someone with a thirst for adrenalin sport, what better than a romantic or action packed ski weekend? With Whakapapa’s fantastic learner area, Turoa’s longest vertical descent in Australasia or backcountry badness at Tukino there is something here for all. Topped off with lodge-like accommodation in Ohakune or the unforgettable Chateau Tongariro, a weekend of the white stuff is calling.
White Water Rafting
Plenty more of the white stuff here too but slighter wetter in design. Rafting is available all year round. An exhilarating way to spend a day, riding the big rapids with a whoop of joy, floating through peaceful countryside and spotting trout, rafting caters for all levels of comfort and with a nice thick wetsuit to keep you warm, you will barely feel the cold. Finish off with a natural hot spa and you’ll wonder why it took you this long to have a go.
Don’t squirm because I said Skydiving. It really is AMAZING. Get your thermals on and head out to the airfield. Choose from 12,000 or 15,000ft and then throw yourself out of a perfectly good plane. It is frightening, your palms will be sweaty but the adrenalin rush will stop you from feeling the cold with this Bucket Lister you just have to tick. If the stuffy office is getting you stir crazy and it’s time to free the soul, become a fresh air fiend and enjoy panoramic views of the Central Plateau and steaming volcanoes as you do it.
Bungy or Swing
This is the “adventure” segment! Get your winter thrills cliff-side and take the plunge with a bungy jump or swing. If it's time you set yourself a personal challenge, conquered that fear of heights or just had a weekend away with the lads or lasses, then get your freak on and bounce around on a piece of elastic for thrills and spills. Placed over the scenic Waikato River, you’ll enjoy splendid views down river as you aim to touch the water. If vertical descents don’t do it for you, make like a kid once more and swing in style, foot-first. Here you’ll pendulum on a rope whilst enjoying that lose-your-stomach feeling over the picturesque riverbed.
Taupo is a winter adventure wonderland. Just because the temperature drops doesn’t mean the adventure stops!!