Location: Taupo and Tongariro Crossing
Hostel: Haka Lodge Taupo
To do: Walk around Taupo and enjoy the scenery; Huka Falls; Tongariro Crossing
Doing the Tongariro Crossing stands as one of the top 5 best things I did in New Zealand, so I definitely recommend you do it. The only thing I’d say is that if you don’t like trekking with other people then you won’t enjoy it.
Anyway, I arrived at Taupo quite early which was a really good plan. It allowed me to explore the town a bit and do some shopping for the trek the next day. I also had a chance to meet a few people in the hostel which was awesome.
Now…the hostel..what an amazing one! I swear that if I could I’d buy a Haka Lodge and run it myself. Everything about this hostel was amazing. From the communication beforehand, to allowing me to store my bags before check in, how easy it was to book my transfer for the Tongariro Crossing etc. Their facilities are excellent! Two kitchens (at least), 2 really good communal areas, washing machines etc. I absolutely loved staying there and definitely recommend it. (and no…I’m not getting paid to promote them, they fully deserve it on merit – https://www.hakalodge.com/lodges/haka-lodge-taupo).
Taupo is a nice “little place” so if you can take the time to go for a long walk along the lake, it’s very serene (and windy!).
One of the unplanned things I did was a loooong walk to the Huka Falls, which was absolutely stunning, so if you do have the chance please do it. It’s not a difficult walk at all and it’s beautiful. You walk right next to the Waikato river until you reach the falls. There are loads of tourists at the falls itself but during the walk there’s barely anyone (I must have seen 5 people in total).
The next morning I got on my transfer to the Tongariro Crossing with another 4 people from the hostel, who I ended up doing part of the crossing with. A big shout out to Sarah who did the entire crossing with me and was my personal photographer during that day. Things to bear in mind when you do the crossing are:
- There will be a lot of other people doing it, which is usually fine but just be prepared for that.
- Layers! All the layers! I had a t-shirt, termal, fleece and a raincoat and was freezing at 7am when we started… as I climbed I got down to a t-shirt to then put it all back on again at the top and taking it all off again on the way down.
- Sunscreen. All of it. My face was peeling for a week after that climb and I put factor 30 (I’m Portuguese so I thought my skin would be ok with factor 30….it wasn’t).
- Take a lot of water + food. They call it the Devil’s Ladder for a reason.
- It is a tough climb but it’s also a worthwhile one.
We were really lucky on that day and we had clear sky so the views were absolutely breathtaking.
Make sure you stretch when you finish and that you eat enough protein that day. My legs were a bit sore the next day but not too bad and I know it was because of all the food and water I had that day.
- If you’re in Taupo…stay at the Haka Lodge
- Do the Huka Falls walk
- Sunscreen, food and water for the Tongariro Crossing
- Get back to your hostel and chill with everyone else that did the Crossing. Nothing better than to share your experience and hear everyone else’s