Starting Point: Lake Taupo
Ending Point: Lake Taupo
Kilometers traveled: 35
Today was a chill day. We had plans for a sunset cruise on the lake at 5 pm. Other than that we had nothing else planned. We had a lazy morning and then headed into town to walk along the lakefront. Then we wandered over to the wharf to see where we had to meet our boat later. And then on to do a bit of grocery shopping at the Pac n Save.
Then it was back to the Spaceship over were she was still parked by the lakefront. We had a picnic lunch there while we watched the resident black swans. We decided to head back to our campground after lunch and made a brief stop at the Spa Thermal Park on the way to take in some beautiful views of the river. The color of the water in Lake Taupo and the Waikato river is spectacular….so many shades of greens and blues. It reminds us of more tropical waters, like the ones we saw in Fiji.
Back at the campground we did a bit of reading and Kat colored her hair. Still have to look good even if you are living out of a car for 2 months. In the late afternoon we headed over to the wharf to meet up with our boat.
We chose to do a sunset cruise on the yacht Barbary out to the Maori rock carvings. The Barbary is a 1926 Colin Archer ketch and has quite a history. Errol Flynn reportedly won her in a card game in 1938. The current owner and captain, Jamey, spent 3 months (7 days a week, 18 hours a day) restoring her and kitting her out with an electronic motor, to keep her fully eco friendly and green.
It was the perfect evening for a sail. Kyle and I sat in the back of the boat, which we weren’t too sure were the best seats. But it meant we got to steer the boat and that’s just what Kyle did for most of the evening. We cruised out along the shoreline and in and out of bays on our way to Mine Bay.
The Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay on Lake Taupo are only accessible by boat. They were created in the late 1970’s by master Maori carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell after he completed his carving studies. On land belonging to his mother, he carved a 10 meter high likeness of Ngatoroirangi, a well known Maori navigator who guided the Twharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to Taupo over 1,000 years ago. It took 4 summers to complete. In a nod to his milt-cultural roots, he also carved smaller figures of celtic design as well.
We got to the carvings close to sunset, and enjoyed traditional Maori music and commentary from Jamey on the meanings of the carvings, while we admired them from the boat.
Then Jamey fired up the grill and we had ourselves a BBQ on the way back to the wharf. It was a delightful, relaxing, totally chill evening as we all enjoyed the sail and chatted with each other. Captain Jamey is very engaging and has loads of great stories. We also met a very nice couple from Adelaide and enjoyed chatting with a few locals as well.
The Barbary cruise is advertised as a “boutique Kiwi cruise at budget prices” and they aren’t kidding about that. For less than we would have paid to rent kayaks and gone out to the carvings ourselves, we were spoiled and pampered for almost three hours on the lovely yacht, Barbary. Definitely a must do if you are ever in Taupo.
After the cruise we stopped off to get a few final photos of the sunset over the lake before heading back to our campground. We’re now curled up with a bit of hot chocolate and cookies.
Tomorrow we head west to Waitomo to experience their caves and do a bit of black water underground tubing. Hope you all are having a great Friday leading into a fantastic weekend.