Kyle and I are both planners. When it comes to trips though, Kyle definitely has the lead and plans our itinerary which results in me often not knowing where exactly we're going. I didn't know much about the Lake Taupo area and thus didn't know what to expect. But just like the rest of New Zealand, it completely took my breath away with its lush rolling hills and crystal blue waters.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
We arrived in Taupo very late the night before, driving from Napier after a night of wine tasting and dinner (in this order!) and checked in at the Hilton Lake Taupo. Read about the geothermal wonderland and wine tasting here. Due to Kyle's Hilton Honors status, we were promised complimentary breakfast and decided to get up early and take advantage of their offer and their spa facilities. Half asleep still, we stumbled out of our room to make our way to the breakfast hall only to be greeted by the most amazing views!
It was a cool and brisk morning so we chose to have breakfast right by the fireplace.
It was heaven on earth, followed by more blissfulness as we headed to the sauna.
Our entire stay at the Hilton Lake Taupo exceeded all our expectations and we highly recommend them should you find yourself in the Lake Taupo area.
Before running for the hills (well driving in our case, see our driving route here), we explored the area around Taupo and had to stop at Huka Falls which were a short 10 minute drive away from the hotel...
Shop My Look
... and went for a stroll on the beach where we met up with some locals who were extraordinarily friendly.
The area around Lake Taupo impressed us with lush, rolling hills, crystal blue waters, and snow-covered mountains in the far distance. It reminded both of us very much of our respective home countries, Switzerland and Canada, and it immediately felt like home.
One destination you can't miss when you're on the North Island in New Zealand is seeing the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo. Everyone we met along the way was raving about the caves so we decided to take a tour. Right at the beginning of the tour, we were told that the cave was recently flooded due to heavy rainfalls and that over half of the glowworm population was killed. And to add on top of that, picture taking was limited to protect the animals. That being said, taking pictures without flash of tiny blue dots is really quite difficult!
Slightly disappointed about the prospects, we entered the cave which by itself was already very impressive! After a brief introduction to the cave,we got on a motorless boat and were immersed in total darkness.
Once our eyes had adjusted to the dark environment, the rocks above us started to light up with millions of little blue lights. It was one of the most magical things I have ever seen! This picture doesn't even come close to doing it any justice as it was taken with an iphone camera from a moving boat, but it gives you an idea. Check out this video by Stoked for Saturday Lifestyle which really captures the magic.
We can't recommend doing the Glowworm Cave tour enough!
Under the light of the full moon, we drove to our last destination on this trip - Auckland. Have you been to a glowworm cave? If not, is it on your list? Let us know in the comments below!
What about these ones?