They may be able to add more snow to the ski fields on Mt Ruapehu thanks to their fancy new snow-making factory, but one thing no one can control is the weather. Luckily, there's plenty to do around the region. Shandelle Battersby offers a few suggestions.
1 WALK OF ART
Every Labour Weekend some of the world's best street artists gather in the Central North Island for the Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival. The festival was the first of its kind in New Zealand and the town can now lay claim to more than 80 colourful murals dotted around its walls and laneways. During the long weekend visitors canwatch the artists in action as they create new works of art on their huge blank canvases; until then, you can download a walking map of 30 highlights from years' past from the likes of ASKEWONE, Owen Dippie and Flox. Don't forget art
to look up. October 20-22.
2 TAKE TIME FOR TEA
There are fewmore apt venues New Zealand-wide at which to indulge in high tea than the famous Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa Village. Built in 1929, this grand old dame has retained its charming character and sitting in the elegant Ruapehu Lounge with its magnificent arched Ngauruhoe Window in front ofthe fire is like stepping back in time. High tea,from $32pp, is offered daily between 11am and 5pm, weekend bookings essential.
3 GO FOR A CRUISE
Family-run Chris Jolly Outdoors has five boats on Lake Taupo offering a range of experiences on and off the lake including scenic cruises and guided fly fishing, hiking, hunting and biking tours. They also offer private boat charters on their premium launches that can be tailored to suit your wish list. Each ofthe boats has a fully licenced bar, sound system, loungestyle cabin and flush loo, and allfishing gear and catering is supplied, from gourmet breakfasts to barbecues at the back of the boat. Claybird shooting from the bow is available by request and any trout you might catch can be prepared and cooked or served sashimi-style if you wantto eat your spoils right then and there.
4 SOAK IT UP
The native bush setting that greets you when you walk down the path to the thermal pools at Wairakei Terraces is both unexpected and instantly soothing— nothing beats sinking a weary body into hot water that you know is full of beneficial minerals, and the steaming waterrising from the pure bluewaters into the lush green landscape is really quite a sight. You canmove between the series of terraced pools ($25, 14 years and older)to find the temperature thatis best for you; keep an eye outfor people passing through the grounds on horseback and an ear out for native birdsong. For an extra shot ofrelaxation, book in foramassage orfacial at the onsite thermal health spa.