Taupo - April 2010, Travel Digest


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Feature I wrote on Taupo for the April 2010 issue of Travel Digest. I travelled to this region as part of this writing assignment.

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Taupo - April 2010, Travel Digest

  1. 1. TAUPO Lake Taupo is where you go if you want to catch a wild trout, swim in a clear lake, walk in native bush, soak in a geothermal pool or jet boat on a raging river. Rugged and rich in history, beautiful and accessible. SARAH WEEKS discovers some of the Turquoise delights of the region. M anaged by Hilton Worldwide, the brand new Hilton Lake Taupo is one of the first upscale, full-service international hotel brands to open in Taupo and the second Hilton hotel in New Zealand. Locals in Taupo are buzzing about the new property so I decide it's time to check out what the fuss is all about! Well there's definitely something to be said about this new upscale hotel, which offers 113 deluxe guest rooms, suites and apartments - including a large and luxurious three-bedroom presidential suite (still in its final stages). Full of history, the hotel is comprised of a Heritage Wing, previously known as the historic Terraces Hotel, built in 1889 and now completely refurbished and a new wing of 100 rooms - the Mountain Wing. The Mountain Wing is positioned a fully equipped gym, bar and an Taupo's newest hotel, Hilton Lake Taupo alongside the Heritage Wing with underground carpark, providing easy panoramic views over Lake Taupo and to access to rooms via the lifts. The second retreats in the world and is sought as an the volcanic mountains of Mt. Ruapehu, stage of Hilton Lake Taupo's development exclusive retreat by the most discerning of New Zealand's largest ski field. Each room will feature a world class conference centre travellers. features a patio with outdoor furniture and due to open later this year. The hotel is It was a pleasure to sample some of is heated using natural geothermal energy already one of the top wedding and their fine dining. I enjoyed a delicious - making it good for the environment, not conference facilities in the region so this three-course lunch, served in the outdoor to mention the power bill! Hilton has development will further enhance what garden area overlooking a beautiful and successfully managed to mix old world is already offer. elegant river garden setting. The lodge with new world, giving guests the option of If you're looking for accommodation recently appointed Michel Louws to the which style they prefer. with a difference then Huka Lodge, set on role of executive chef and his reputation The hotel's restaurant, Bistro Lago, has the lush green banks of the Waikato River for superb cuisine, originality and a proven already been established as one of Taupo's with it's hypnotic deep turquoise waters, passion for creating an exceptional dining premier dinning venues. The menu has offers luxury and truly impeccable taste. experience is clearly evident in the dishes been created by Simon Gault of Founded in the 1920s by a charming he serves. It comes as no surprise to learn Masterchef New Zealand fame, who Irishman, Alan Pye, the lodge was quickly this lodge has won more awards than any together with head chef Shane Yardley, has established with an unrivalled reputation other lodge in the world! designed the breakfast, lunch, dinner and for superb hospitality and trophy-size trout The lodge's accommodation has a total 24-hour room-service menus featuring both of which still draw guests to Huka of 25 rooms, including 18 lodge rooms with locally sourced ingredients. The hotel also Lodge to this very day. Over the years the beautiful riverside views and ensuite features a cellar ballroom (for up to 120 lodge has evolved into an iconic New bathrooms; The Owner's Cottage, which banquet guests), thermally heated outdoor Zealand property that has been offers the ultimate in hospitality infinity pools, spa, steam room and sauna, consistently chosen as one of the top experience and is perfect for a group of 26 April 2010, TRAVEL DIGEST
  2. 2. TAUPO family or friends to enjoy this exclusive self- contained cottage which has four generous bedrooms. The Alan Pye pools for the enjoyment of all guests and both cottage's have their own pools. From 1 May to 25 September, Huka Huka Lodge, on the banks of the Waikato River Cottage offers another stunning style of Lodge will present a series of special additional cost. Events include guest cottage experience with two large events, which happily coincide with their chefs, prestigious winemakers, fine French bedrooms. There is an all-weather tennis favourable mid-season tariff and in many Champagne, literary luncheon, pheasant court, as well as swimming pool and spa cases are available complimentary at no and partridge shoot and fine a unique combination of excitement and natural beauty Half an hour of thrills, fun and excitement along a beautiful river environment, lined with native bush, sheer cliff rock face and natural hot springs to the very base of the Huka Falls. 9am-5pm daily. Bookings essential. Karetoto Road, Wairakei Tourist Park (10 mins north of Taupo, 55 mins south of Rotorua) For travel trade enquiries, contact Michelle Caldwell at info@hukafallsjet.com or call +64 7 374 8572 | 0800 4 THRILLS | www.hukafallsjet.com TRAVEL DIGEST, April 2010 27
  3. 3. TAUPO jewellery trunk show, just to name a few. Further down the Waikato River, you will find Hukafalls Jet boats, which offer a unique combination of excitement and natural beauty. A 30-minute thrilling (indeed!) jet boat ride in the hands of a down-to-earth, funny professional jet boat driver made a jet boat do things you would never imagine possible - like narrowly missing trees in the middle of the river! This half hour of thrills, fun and excitement takes you along the beautiful Waikato River environment, lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff face and natural hot springs. Combining 360 degree spins and passing nature by incredibly close at disorientating way to refresh and excite yourself! Hukafalls Jet, for thrills on the speeds, this amazing experience is must- Scenic Cellars is an iconic New Waikato River do for visitors - all of this before we even Zealand premium wine establishment, reach the awe inspiring majesty that is the stocking over 3,000 different wine labels store is the second retail premise in the Huka Falls. From the unique vantage point and over 100,000 bottles of rare and fine Southern Hemisphere to install an on the boat you have the best water level wines from around the world to match all enomatic tasting machine, allowing view of the powerful Huka Falls – New budgets. If you're a wine lover, you'll customers to self-taste domestic and Zealand's most visited natural attraction. definitely appreciate a wander through international wines. Book your ticket for As the only jet boat company operating in New Zealand's largest underground retail one of their many wine tasting evenings, this stretch of the Waikato River, it offers wine cellar which is open to the public, events or themed dinners held through- exclusive access – our driver even gets up housing wines in all price ranges. The out the year, or simply pop in for a visit, close and personal with this natural beauty, cellar is also used as a function venue for taste a few different wines and buy your much to my surprise – there is no better dinners, events and wine tastings. The favourite bottles! ✈ 28 April 2010, TRAVEL DIGEST