A Day in Turangi: Lake Rotopounamu & The Birthplace of the Haka – Day 307
History and Hiking in Turangi.
Today we are exploring Turangi with Laka Rotopounamu and Opotake, the Birthplace of the Haka. If you like this video and want more New Zealand inspiration, then head on over to our awesome YouTube Channel & Subscribe!
Today we’re going to discover the place where the Haka was born.
This morning we are leaving the awesome Haka Lodge in Taupo for the little town of Turangi. This is the end of our adventure in Taupo. We’ve spent almost 2 weeks there and it’s with heavy heart that we are moving onto the next stage of our adventure.
The drive from Taupo to Turangi is about 45 minutes to one hour long and the drive is absolutely stunning circumventing the amazing great Lake Taupo alongside cliffs it’s just a stunning view the whole way.
Today we are following my friend Casey on our way to Turangi cos he knows the area so well and he wants to show us some awesome pitstops and the first one that we’re going to be doing is Opotaka cos it has a huge significance in New Zealand culture.
It is in this very spot in New Zealand that the famous All Blacks Hakawas created. So this is one of those hidden stories. Everyone knows the Haka, no one knows where it came from, where exactly in the country it came from, so it’s cool to say look it actually came from here.
Ok, so after learn that, I’m not, I’m not going to mention that… So the Haka was actually created right here or at least the All Blacks Haka because there is a lot of different Hakas. In fact, a lot of Maori tribes had their own and the All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team, is performing one that was created right here in Opotaka.
After picking up a pie in Turangi at one of the best places to have a pie in New Zealand, according to Casey we are going to this awesome lookout overlooking Lake taupo and Turangi or our way to our main activity of the day which is a walk around Lake Rotopounamu.
This walk is only about 15 minutes drive out of Turangi and it’s a awesome place to get that full wilderness experience.
So we just arrived at the map. And here’s how they named the beach here. There is a beach called 10 Minute Beach and there is a beach called 5 Minute Beach. However the 5 Minute Beach is 10 minutes away… Which makes sense.
We’re here, we’re gonna go here, here, here and all the way here, and back.
Alright so despite the confusing map and that brings the subject of timing when doing a walk. I just want to tell you about the DOC signs that are scattered around all the hikes in New Zealand. Very often you get a timing like 3 hours or 2 hours but you always have to take those timings with a grain of salt very often those timings take into consideration of all levels of fitness and very often you’ll do a two hour walk in about 45 minutes.
But let’s bring us back to this really amazing walk. We are walking around Lake Rotopounamu and the views are absolutely amazing when we have them. At the moment, we are in the middle of the wild forest surrounding the lake but from time to time we get to have a little bit of a peak to the beautiful lake.
It’s a beautiful sunny day today so there is all those flares around there is all those shadows it’s absolutely stunning this lake and this walk is absolutely awesome. Plus there is ton of wildlife we are surrounded by birds you can hear birdsong all along the way.
The views are so good because the lake is actually formed in a crater so we are basically walking around the lake but with a bit of a overlook on it it’s actually a really cool position to get some awesome views and on top of that, there is plenty of beaches along the way where we can actually stop at and check out the lake for ourselves and we are arriving at the first one of the day.
When we emerge out of the forest we arrive at this amazing and tranquil lake it’s super clear I can’t believe how clear the water is. I’m always so surprised by that at the multiple lakes and rivers that I see around New Zealand.
On top of that we barely see anyone else for the whole walk only a couple of times do we walk past people but other than that we have this whole place to ourselves. And on top of that we can see exactly why they call this Lake Rotopounamu because Roto means lake in Maori but also Pounamu is the word for greenstone and this lake has an amazing green colour to it.
As we are relaxing alongside the lake we can hear so many bird calls coming from the forest and that’s from all the different tui and there’s kereru, fantail as well, so many native birds are in this forest but apparently it wasn’t always that way, there’s a lot of conservation work put into this forest and there’s a lot of signs along this walk tell you all about.
But because we have accommodation to check into this afternoon, we decide to get back on the track and complete this walk. The whole walk itself takes about 2 hours to complete if you are going really slow and we especially are going really slow because there’s so many amazing birds to see like this amazing tui which is famous for the crazy sounds they make like warbling sounds and they look really interesting they have they have these two little white feathers under their neck and their feathers shimmer with different blue hues under the sun. They’re really awesome.
The tui is such a huge staple of life in New Zealand it’s actually the name of it’s most popular beer. You can find those orange tui beer bottles almost everywhere in New Zealand. And that’s the same thing for the tui bird you can find them in almost every single forest around the country.
But enough about drinking we are now making our way back toward the car I just want to point out that Lake Rotopounamu is one of the most accessible walks in New Zealand it’s super easy there is plenty of signs there is also plenty to learn about with a ton of signs over trees and lakes it’s a really cool walk and if you are travelling with a family that’s perfect to take the kids because not too long not too short and absolutely not strenuous.
As for us we are checking in at the Turangi Kiwi Holiday Park where we’re gonna be spending the next few nights as we explore the surrounding of the awesome Turangi.
Driving with the lake on the side, driving with the lake on the side, there is the lake on the side, and you can’t see it, but I’m driving with a beautiful lake view. You wish you could see that view but just make your way between Taupo and Turangi. Tuatuatuaturangi.