Guest Blogger: Marie Barry
Taupo is a great town, where you won’t be short of something to do. Situated on a lake, the town is known for its water activities and adventurous mountain biking routes. If you love the outdoors, then you’ll really enjoy this small but scenic town.
Like many towns in this area of New Zealand, Taupo is surrounded by geothermal activity, and we found that everywhere we went, we saw steam rising up out of vents and cracks in the ground. There are places where even the river is hot, and causes steam to rise dramatically over the water.
There are a few commercial hot pools in Taupo that you can pay to visit, but we decided to dodge the overpriced packages and do the backpackery thing by finding a natural (and free) geothermal pool. We parked up at Otumuheke Park and took one of its walking paths (it also has fantastic mountain biking routes), but had to do a bit of searching to find the pool as it wasn’t signposted. Eventually we asked asked a man for directions, and as we rounded the last hill, we knew we were in the right place – the steam rising from under the bridge directed us to the spot.
Delighted that we were the only people there at that hour of the morning, we stripped down to swimwear and hopped in to the steaming pool. It was divine! We relaxed in the water, occasionally drifting out closer to to the main Waikato river to cool down before returning to the heated bliss.A point to note is that visitors belongings can get stolen, as you have to leave your things on the bridge, while you sit in the pool underneath. Luckily our bags were fine.
We stayed for nearly an hour before other visitors arrived, and the place became busy. We had started to shrivel like prunes at this stage so it was time to move on. It’s certainly a good idea to get there early in the morning, and have the pool to yourself, as there is an atmosphere of calm and serenity.
If you are adventurous enough to find it, Taupo’s secret pool is a worthy hidden gem.