If you're in Taupo and decide to jump out of a plane, you'll probably want to be in the safe, experienced hands of skydiver Andrew Godfrey, aka The Godfather. Andy has made more than 22,000 jumps with Taupo Tandem Skydiving, and when he's not helping soothe the nerves of those leaping 5,638m above the scenic panorama of Tongariro national park, he's dabbling in a little Jethro Tull-inspired jazz flute.
We asked Andy to tell us some of his favourite things about Taupo.
What's fresh and new in Taupo?
Taupo is evolving constantly. It has long surpassed the sleepy rest stop many have thought it to be on their travels to other places. It has become the events capital of the north, with many natural and manufactured spots to visit and enjoy: bush walks, bike parks, great trails, race tracks, excellent shopping, thermal wonders, not to mention all the attraction of the huge fresh clean lake.
Tell us something people don't know about Taupo.
When people travel to Taupo I'm not sure if they realise that those who live here really love this place. To smile at a local usually elicits a broad grin in response. Community is obvious everywhere you look.
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How do you stay fresh in summer?
Summer is beautiful in Taupo. There is this lake nearby… I've heard it's great for a dip to cool off!
Is there a must-see landmark when making a pit stop at Taupo?
Well if you miss the lake, you have kinda missed the point... but a little-known point of history is just out of town on State Highway 5. Opepe Reserve is a site of battle in the New Zealand wars, not to mention a beautiful cache of native bush to wander through on a hot day.
What's your favourite Subway® sub and where in town do you like to eat it?
My all-time fave is an Italian BMT with all the salads and extra olives and jalapenos, from the lakefront Subway® It's just a short stroll across the road to enjoy on the edge of the lake looking at the mountains.
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