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Taupo has long been a popular holiday destination for North Island residents wanting to get away for a couple of days.
Along with the Coromandel, Tauranga and Rotorua, it’s probably one of those places that every Kiwi kid raised between Auckland and Wellington has been to at least once in their lifetime, and for good reason.
When the sun is shining and the water glistening, Lake Taupo is easily one of the country’s most scenic spots.
The last time I visited was about five years ago, and that was only for a night while returning to Auckland during a week long trip.
When I decided to take a four day holiday in February, the first place I wanted to get back to was Taupo and its magnificent lake.
I tend to walk a lot when I get to somewhere new and one thing I like about Taupo in this regard is the flatness of its central city, something it shares with Wellington and Christchurch.
A tourist can throw on a pair of comfortable shoes, stuff a map in their pocket, and strike out to explore their new surroundings without getting burned out the first day from having to slog uphill.
My routine upon arriving anywhere new is to head out and see the sights on foot, and that’s exactly what I did after arriving in Taupo on a sunny Friday afternoon.
The city’s commercial district is spread around half a dozen streets, with many bars and restaurants situated along Roberts Street, just over the road from Lake Terrace, which offers a spectacular view of the water.
After building up a thirst, my first stop for refreshment was at the Pub ‘n Grub in Roberts Street.
It’s a friendly establishment offering cold drinks and hot meals, and as I wasn’t yet hungry, I decided to down an ice-cold beer in record time, before hitting the pavement again.
Later that night I tried my luck at the Thai Delight restaurant in Tamamutu Street, which is about a ten minute stroll from where I stayed at YHA Taupo on Kaimanawa Street.
I devoured a very tasty tofu vegetarian red curry, which is one of my favourite dishes in the world of Thai food.
The next night my meal of choice was a burger and fries from Burger Fuel, also in Roberts Street.
The biggest problem a foodie faces when staying is Taupo is choosing where to eat any given night, as there are quality choices in categories including Thai, Chinese, Indian, traditional English pubs and more.
On my last day in Taupo I took the opportunity to enjoy a stroll through the scenic Tongariro Domain and then spend a quiet hour lying on the grass beside the lake.
It was great to see littlies playing in the water and digging holes in the sand with plastic buckets, as well as people swimming, paddle boarding or boating on Lake Taupo.
All in all, it was an enjoyable and relaxing two nights spent in one of the prettiest parts of New Zealand.