We left Auckland for Lake Taupo on a rainy day, and had to charge our VW e-Golf more times than I anticipated during the 285km trip, meaning three times instead of the single charge in Hamilton that I had planned on. Fortunately there are several DC chargers along the route, and we took advantage of them in Takanini, Te Rapa, and Tokoroa. Part of the problem was that the e-Golf does not make it easy to charge to 100% instead of the default 80%, further handicapping the puny 36kWh battery.
We arrived at our rental home, Fairbairn House, just after dark and appreciated it’s many comforts, including the electrically-heated mattress pads in the king size bed! Winter temperatures in the Taupo area are significantly colder than in Auckland, reflecting the difference between a seaside locale and the 360 meter elevation at Lake Taupo, far inland.
On our first day at Taupo we were anxious to go for a hike, and chose a trail up nearby Mt Tauhara, a popular track with the locals. We have a clear view of the mountain from where we are staying, on a hill above Acacia Bay. The sunrise there on our first morning was lovely.
The Mt Tauhara trailhead is just minutes from downtown Taupo, at these GPS coordinates (-38.7040780, 176.1404042). There is enough space to park a dozen or more cars, but I expect that in the summer it can be crowded. The mountain is privately owned but open to hikers at no charge. The track starts on a working farm, and straight uphill, but that part will only take ten minutes or so. In no time at all we had experienced the first of the many fine views we would have that day. The photo on the right shows steam rising from active geothermal areas just north of downtown. Lake Taupo was formed 26,500 years ago by a collapsed supervolcano, and major eruptions have occurred as recently as 180AD; practically yesterday, geologically speaking!
The first half of the hike is the hardest, on narrow, steep, eroded trails with lots of tree roots.
After you reach the stream the going is easier. Moss covered trees loom over you like Ents in Lord of the Rings.
The forest is packed with ferns of all shapes and sizes.
The final third of the route is the easiest, and the views from the top, even on a cloudy day, are spectacular.
On the way down the cloud clover increased and at the end of the descent it was raining lightly. I spotted a type of fungus I had never seen before, and it made a striking contrast with the dark wet tree.
If you do this hike and are on the summit on a clear day this is what you will see (photo courtesy of Love Taupo).