Everywhere you go in New Zealand, you will hear that the particular place is the best/largest/most visited because of something. In that spirit, Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and the whole region is called the Great (!) Lake Taupo. Both activities that we picked for our short visit to Taupo were associated with water.
Otomuheke Stream, Spa Park
Taupo is located in the central part of New Zealand’s North Island, in the middle of a region of geothermal and volcanic activity. Thanks to that, there are numerous hot springs and thermal hot pools. There are two options how to experience the hot pools. If you are looking for something comfortable and luxurious, check out the paid hot pools Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs and Wairakei Terraces Hot Pools. If you want something natural/cheap, head for the natural hot waters of Otomuheke Stream. We preferred option 2.
Otomuheke Stream is a hot stream flowing into the Waikato River just north of Taupo. I expected that it would be a quiet place in the woods and that we would be there alone. I couldn’t be more wrong. There were all kinds of people from families with small kids, though old couples, to groups of school kids. We decided to take it easy and we found a spot downstream, closer to where the hot springs flow into the river, where the temperature is nicely warm, not painfully warm. If you have thick skin, you can try to immerse further upstream, by a lovely waterfall. The good thing is that there’s a natural gradient of temperatures from the spring to the point where the hot stream mixes with the river, so everybody found their perfect spot.
Good to know – there’s a problem with thieves and it’s not advised to leave valuables in a car or to bring them to the springs.
A 11-meter high waterfall where 220,000 litres of water pass every second is situated about an hour walk from the Otomuheke Stream. It’s a nice and easy two hour return trip, following the Waikato River. Where the river suddenly narrows from 100m to 15m, the natural funnel creates a magnificent show. The water is of a colour that honestly deserves the label ‘aqua blue’ and the foam is so huge that the Maori name for foam ‘huka’ actually gave name to the waterfalls.
And as I mentioned earlier, places in New Zealand are always proclaiming to be the best in something. When I looked up the Taupo’s web page, I found out that Huka Falls are New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. True or not, they are worth a visit.
Have you visited any natural hot pools? And what’s the most beautiful waterfall that you have seen so far?
Read more of my stories from New Zealand:
Hobbiton Movie Set: Excuse me, where do I find Bilbo Baggins?
Waitomo Caves: Underground adventures in Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Tongariro National Park: Hiking in Morder: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Wellington: Discovering the artistic side of New Zealand in Wellington
Art Deco Napier: Why Napier is the Art Deco capital of the world