Coming from little old Hawke’s Bay, Taupo isn’t exactly considered an overly exciting holiday destination. It’s in the middle of the North Island, it is always overcrowded because of tourists and not to mention everyone uses it as a pit stop. However, when you live at your work 24/7 and can rarely get away, anywhere but here seems like a tropical island holiday!!
Don’t get me wrong, Taupo is absolutely beautiful but we have been many times before so this trip wasn’t planned to be anything spectacular.
The trip did however have a specific purpose…. not only was it our first time leaving the hotel since we moved in, we were also going to tick off a massive, massive item off my bucket list – to ride in a helicopter! ✓✓✓
We made a real effort to do as much as we could while in Taupo to make the most of our weekend away and let me tell you, you are in for a raging reading ride so buckle in tight!
Friday – Day 1
Because we were travelling to Taupo after work, we decided to stay somewhere quite cheap as were going to be arriving late and had planned to go to the cinema for the night so would not be spending a lot of time in the room. Working in a 5 star hotel, I will admit I am a bit of a hotel snob and have a certain level of cleanliness that I expect. We stayed in a cute place called Huka Falls Resort. We paid $79 for a Studio unit and if I am honest, I wasn’t expecting big things due to mixed Trip Advisor reviews. I was pleasantly surprised! There are little villa type rooms scattered across the property and from what I researched, they either were a Studio/One Bedroom attached or a Two Bedroom Unit on its own. There were reviews about the Studio/One Bedroom units not being soundproof which I was worried about and once we arrived I could see where the complaints stemmed from as the end of our bed literally touched the door to the One Bedroom lounge! eeeekk! I think we were lucky though as the One Bedroom unit was not occupied the night we stayed (thanks Winter!) so we enjoyed a peaceful nights sleep. I fell in love with the venue and it would be perfect for Wedding guests all travelling together!! They had a pool & a tennis court, so perfect for the kids in Summer too. $79 is such a bargain and it is very centrally located (2 minute drive to town). We would definitely return if we were looking for cheap but nice accommodation!
After we had settled in for the evening we went for a drive 2 minutes down the road to the Huka Falls lookout (I would say probably a must-do if you are visiting Taupo for the first time) and then went into town for dinner (takeaway Thai) & a movie. The cinema in Taupo is a bit run-down (the spitballs on the ceiling made for interesting decor lol!) $16 for a ticket.
We made a effort to go to a late movie so we were out past 10pm (our curfew at home haha)
Saturday – Day 2
Up early today for the very anticipated HELICOPTER RIDE!!! (I was like a fat kid at a cake shop, believe me!). The experience was incredible! Nothing that I had ever experienced before. We organised the flight through Heli Adventure Flights and booked the ‘Ultimate Combo Deal’ which included a 15 minute helicopter ride over Taupo followed by a trip on the Huka Falls Jet. We had the most amazing views over Taupo and the pilot was great. 15 minutes went past SO fast but it didn’t bother me as I was loving every minute of it! We paid $189 each for the combo but if you are not fussed on doing the jet, they offer a 9 minute helicopter ride for $99 per person! I thought this was reasonably priced for an experience you would really only do once or twice!
Right, moving on to the Huka Jet! This was actually my 4th or 5th time on the jet so it wasn’t a new experience for me but I still loved it just as much as the first time! The staff really make the experience a memorable one with lots of laughs and such skilled driving. Sam thought it was brill too! (bonus!)
After the jet we walked on over to the Prawn Fishing (my favourite thing to do in Taupo!!) and spent a couple of hours here before checking into The Hilton Hotel for the rest of the day – pure bliss!
Much to Sams disgust, I really wanted to go out for dinner & with my impeccable timing, this fell just on the All Blacks game (LOL!). He dragged his bottom lip all the way down the road into town and we stumbled on a little restaurant called The Bistro and it was PUMPING! We were lucky enough to get a table for 2 and we were so glad we did! The food was absolutely amazing and the service was great (there were only 2 ladies running it and they were doing an amazing job for a full restaurant!!) I later discovered that it was rated #1 on Trip Advisor and I can see why! I thought it was worth missing the rugby for…..! Sam doesn’t think there is anything worth missing the rugby for.
Sunday – Day 3
Definitely got to say big thumbs up to The Hilton for having a midday check out time! We had a nice sleep in and had a late breaky at Dixie Browns. We have been here before and really enjoyed it. It was our mistake going on a Sunday morning though, it was CHAOTIC and the only table left was one outside in the cold. We took it though because we are hungry idiots and spent the morning sipping down my ice chocolate in the ice cold wind haha. After seeing most of Taupo we were off! Back on the road to homeville.
Side Note: A few years ago we went for a day trip to Taupo especially to do the Taupo Bungy Cliff Hanger and it was the craziest thing ever! If you are an adrenaline junkie I defo recommend having a go on this and would class this as a Taupo Must-Do!!!