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The Perfect Trip - NZ North Island
By Joyce Huang Lonely Planet Jan / Feb 2012 Issue
As he started binding my feet together, the trepidation set in, my stomach felt queasy and I could not even carry out a decent conversation with the Kiwi operator who was obviously trying to ease my nerves with friendly banter.
The only thought on my mind: just jump; do not hesitate, just jump. I inched my way forward to the edge of the platform and surprisingly, it was not the fear of hurtling myself down 47 metres with a mere bungy cord as a lifeline that took my breath away.
Taupo Bungy is the most popular bungy spot in the North Island and from my vantage point it was easy to see why. Set on a cliff over the mighty Waikato River, the Taupo Bungy platform provides a picturesque canyon view that deserves at least a few moments of appreciation.
And after successfully surviving the plunge, I can safely say that the views are much better as you dive down the canyon, provided you keep your eyes open throughout.
Located in the heart of New Zealand North Island, Taupo has, over the years, earned itself a status of adrenaline capital.
An abundance of heart-pumping activities like mountain biking, jet boating, bungy jumping and white water rafting are widely offered, with natural wonders such as Mount Ruapehu, Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids as spectacular backdrops.
In fact, one of the best ways to view Taupo’s beauty in its entirety is to free fall from over three kilometres up in the air. Just ask the 35,000 daredevils who take the leap each year, making Taupo the sky diving capital of the world.
Just earlier, I had already experience my heart in my mouth when we visited the Huka Falls, a set of water falls on the Waikato River, and got thrown about on a high speed Hukafalls Jet boat.
It was a small price to pay for being able to marvel at the incredible water level views of the spectacular Huka Falls.
But we were not done; getting high on adrenaline makes one crave more and we found our next adventure at The Tongariro River.
The Tongariro River is one of New Zealand’s most famous rivers and with over 60 roller coaster Grade Three rapids, is one of the best rafting adventures in the North Island.
A large part of the river can only be accessed by raft and within the two and a half hour adventure, there is ample opportunity to appreciate the unspoilt beech forests catch sight of wildlife such as rainbow trouts and blue ducks.
After navigating the river successfully without getting thrown off the raft, I managed to catch my breath and thought to myself: I am saving the sky diving for another trip.
For your adrenaline thrills, see Taupo Bungy, Hukafalls Jet, and Tongariro River Rafting.
For more information on the region, visit greatlaketaupo.com
Where to eat
L’Arte is a fantastically artful café in an ebullient sculpture garden just 10 minutes from town. Lots of mouth-watering treats are made from scratch here, including the pesto on the antipasta platter (mains from US$8; larte.co.nz)
Where to stay
Huka Lodge is constantly ranked as one of the top luxury getaways in the world. Located upstream from the Huka Falls on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, Huka Lodge is nestled amongst seven hectares of park-like grounds, offering just 18 suites, a whole lot of pampering and privacy (from US$425; hukalodge.co.nz).