NZ Road Trip Day 3: Lake Taupo / Mt. Doom / Wellington

NZ Road Trip Day 3: Lake Taupo / Mt. Doom / Wellington


This is day three of 9 days/8 nights exploring New Zealand's North and South Island. If you haven't yet, you should check out Day 2: Aukland/Matamata! The intent is to provide a sample itinerary, helpful hints, and motivation. The times are to show how much you can do/drive in a small amount of time. Hopefully this adventure will help you plan YOUR New Zealand adventure.


The Short Story. 
7:00 AM Sunrise over Taupo
8:00 AM Coffee at Robert Harris
9:00 AM Brunch and Coffee at Victoria's Cafe -- nom
1:00 PM Lake Taupo Lookout
3:00 PM High Tea at Chateau Tongariro Hotel on Mt. Doom -- yes!
6:00 PM Dinner in Whanganui
9:00 PM Arrive in a Holiday Park in Wellington

The Long Story.

5:30 AM Impatiently waiting for sunrise over Lake Taupo. I had a GoPro TimeLapse video, but my computer is too weak to handle that kind of footage. Another day.


7:15 AM FINALLY. Sunrise over Taupo.

This is where that damn GoPro video was supposed to go. Don't worry - I'm not bitter.


8:00 AM Desperately need Wifi.
Go to Robert Harris, which I find out is the Starbucks of New Zealand.
It was bizarre. I could actually taste the milk in this drink. To this point, all the coffee in New Zealand tasted like espresso with a dollop of foam.
Quickly realize that it's not that New Zealand had bad internet. It's that coffee shops rarely share more than 50 MBs of wifi. 

Lesson Learned
Use your 50 MBs of Wi-Fi efficiently. This means Google Maps > Instagram. (Oops)

9:00 AM Brunch and coffee at Victoria's Cafe

This coffee was a caffeinated slap in the face

Lessons Learned
Eggs Benny- all the way.
On trips like these, you can justify 2 caffeinated beverages a day.

10:00 AM Go to Dick Smith and find appropriate cords so we can charge out devices.
Helpful Hint: Dick Smith (contrary to your belief) is a electronics store.

Lesson Learned
Bring appropriate adapters so you don't spend hours at Dick Smith.
When you're traveling, buy souvenirs when you can because otherwise, you'll end up buying BS at the airport for a mark up.

1:00 PM Views of Taupo
Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake and was formed via a volcanic eruption some 25,000 years ago.

I promise- it's not a green screen.

I promise- it's not a green screen.

3:00 PM High Tea at Chateau Tongariro Hotel on Mt. Doom
Mt. Doom (
 actually called Mt. Nguaruhoe) is the fictional volcano in the Lord of the Rings movies. 
You can actually hike across Mordor in Tongariro National Park. --> How badass.

Scones are for Snobs.

High tea is a meal that is between lunch and dinner where you sip tea and eat sweets and other snacks. 
This experience (despite the sugar high) was calming. I felt like I was in my 80s enjoying the high life. I would highly recommend it. I mean- now you can tell your friends that you had high tea on Mt. Doom.

The Chateau

Lessons Learned
Monitor your caffeine intake. This day I consumed 3 caffeinated beverages. I was out of control. 
When it's the middle of the afternoon and you want to sound important, tell your friends to join you for "high tea".

6:00 PM Pizza Snack in Whanganui at La Strada (the people were nicer than the food was)
Unfortunately, the entire town had shut down. It was a regular old Monday - why?
I stood outside an Indian restaurant and pressed my face against the glass, hoping they would let me in. They didn't.

Lesson Learned
Be careful! Towns may be randomly shut down. I'd recommend carrying some snacks with you.

9:00 PM Drive into Wellington and promptly drive out to stay at a Holiday Park.
Holiday parks are camper van parks that usually have showers and charging stations.

 It usually costs $30-40 NZD a night. AND YOU CAN CHARGE YOUR DEVICES!!
The people in the common area did not speak English, but still seemed friendly.

Lesson Learned
Plan ahead. Holiday Parks outside the city will be less expensive than those in the city. 

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