Author Archives: Bella Vista
Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!
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As part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone that stretches from Central North Island to Bay of Plenty, there are many geothermal attractions close to Taupo Bella Vista. Many of these attractions are within 1 hour’s drive from your Taupo accommodation.
Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park
Orakei Korako is Bella Vista's top pick and arguably the best geothermal attraction around Taupo Region. Considered as “off the beaten track” it is only 25 minutes’ drive from Taupo. To access the park, you need to drive for 30 minutes from the motel along state highway 1. Once parked you can hop on an on-demand boat (included in the admission fee) which crosses the mighty Waikato River.
A boardwalk from the jetty leads you to the centre of the park where many geothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and massive silica terraces can be found. Do not miss the Ruatapu Cave. It takes average 1 hour to complete the self-guided walk.
Crater Of The Moon
Less than 10 minutes’ drive out of Taupo town centre is a lesser known geothermal area. This area resembles lunar landscapes, features bubbling craters, steam vents and colourful soils. The walkway is mostly level and accessible to both wheelchair & pram (free for loan). The entrance fee is good value at $8 for an adult. It takes a leisurely 45 minutes to complete a self-guided loop.
Tokaanu Thermal Walk
Located at the southern end of Lake Taupo in the village of Tokaanu near Turangi, is this family-friendly walkway. You can complete the loop walk in around 15 minutes. All the features of the walk includiong steaming pools and spluttering mud pots are set amongst attractive native bush. Access is free, but do visit the thermal pools right next door which draws its mineral rich water from the hot streams. The people of local M?ori tribe have lived around the thermal area since the 16th century.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Located off SH5 between Taupo and Rotorua lies one of the youngest geothermal area in the world, Waimangu Valley.
Not only does the park have some spectacular volcanic features such as craters, geysers, and hot springs, there is also the stories of the Mt Tarawera eruption. The volcanoes explosion not only resulted in this dramatic landscape, but also changed the lives of many.
You begin this unique experience by descending into the valley from top of a hill where you can see a range of geothermal activity and features. The highlight is the brilliant blue Inferno Crater. Continue your walk to Lake Rotomahana, or hop on the free shuttle back to where you started. If you choose the former, you have the option to join the lake cruise and learn more about the nature and human history of the area.
Depending on your schedule, allow 1 – 3 hours to explore and experience this amazing piece of the world.
Bella Vista Taupo is situated just a short walk from both Lake Taupo waterfront and the town. Handy for shops and attractions it is a perfect getaway spot.
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Whangarei is becoming an incredibly popular destination for Aucklander's looking to take a couple of nights away. You can enjoy a range of activities and attractions during your stay and that includes, of course, a trip to one or two of the local beaches.
A relatively easy 150km drive from Auckland, Whangarei is a vibrant town with plenty to see and do, great restaurants and the popular town basin is a destination in its own right. The city is a great place to base yourself and of course, a perfect Whangarei accommodation option is 4 star rated Bella Vista.
Here is our rundown on the best beaches to visit in and around Whangarei.
Ruakaka Beach is just a 30 min car ride south of Whangarei. The beach at Ruakaka is a great swimming beach with surf life guards on duty during the summer months and it is popular with locals, visitors from Whangarei and tourists alike.
Ruakaka is an open easterly facing ocean beach that does have rips and with a moderate gradient and usually one sandbar, it is sheltered from Northerly swells by Bream Head. Lots of people also surf fish along this beach as well.
Ocean Beach is 35km from Whangarei and it will take you about 40 min to drive there. One of Whangarei’s premier surf beach. The beach is patrolled by life guards in the summer months.
There are oads of sand dunes to run up and down, rock pools to explore and maybe gather some sea food (Kai Moana).
With its beautiful white sand and views of Bream Head what more could you ask for from a beach. Park in the car park above which has toilets and walk down to the beach for a swim and picnic if you desire. Lots to explore along the coast.
A 35 min drive east of Whangarei and 36.5 kms along the Tutukaka coast, you will find this magnificent beach, our favorite beach.
Matapouri Bay has spectacular white sand and an estuary that you can swim in, this is one of the safest beaches to take the family swimming. There is a small local store for that ice-cream at the end of the day for the kids.
You will also find a playground for the kids and tennis courts for adults and kids to play, at Matapouri Bay. There is ample parking for everyone and also public toilets.
If you are feeling adventurous, why not take the walk to Whale Bay, which will take you 40 min one way. You will see spectacular views of the coast along the way.
Whale Bay is a short drive north past Matapouri Bay to the north, or just over the hill if you are walking.
With a bush fringed beach and white sand this is a great beach. Sorry but you will have to park on the road and walk down the hill to this beach but the walk is worth it, you will be walking through an ancient grove of Puriri Trees.
Take your snorkel gear with you for some great snorkeling and it's a great spot for picnics and safe swimming. Whale Bay provides basic public toilets.
A little further north from Whale Bay you are going to find Sandy Bay which is very popular for its great surf breaks.
More suited to all the surfers, but still a great beach to enjoy. Parking is available off the road and there are basic toilets available. This is the furthest beach from Whangarei - about 50 minutes away, but is worth the drive to see it.
Sharon, Jo and the whole team at your chosen Whangarei accommodation, which is of course, Bella Vista Whangarie are looking forward to hosting you.
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Wanaka is a walkers dream and there really is something for everyone. Whether it be a steep, challenging upward climb, or a gentle amble alongside Lake Wanaka, you can take your pick depending on your mood. Of course it is often those harder tramps that bring the rewards such as the view from Mount Iron that takes your eye across the lake to the peaks of the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring National Park. Whatever direction you head, you can be certain that you have made the right Wanaka accommodation choice with Bella Vista, quietly nestled in the heart of Wanaka township and a stone's throw from the lake.
Here's Bella Vista Wanaka's top five Wanaka Walks:
Roys Peak Track
A must do in New Zealand and an Instagram favourite, this day walk will give you magnificent views of Wanaka, the lake and the Southern Alps. This walk is a 16km return walk which would take an average walker between 5-6 hours. This is a popular track and one of Wanaka's best day hikes.
Isthmus Peak Track
A long, steady climb that rewards walkers with spectacular, panoramic views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea as well as the mountains of the Southern Alps. The peak summit sits at 1,385 metres and this advanced walk will take somewhere between 5-7 hours.
Mt Iron Track
Mount Iron is one of Wanaka's most popular short walks with spectacular views. This walk is a 1.5 hour loop so is perfect if only stopping over in Wanaka for one night. The walk is suitable for all ages and abilities and whilst a little steep in parts, it is incredibly rewarding once you reach the top.
The Blue Pools track and the Young Link Track are located just outside of Makarora and snake through beautiful beech forests to the famous Blue Pools site. This walk offers a perfect break to your journey if you are travelling between Wanaka and the West Coast. The Blue Pools track take about 1 hour return, is 3km long and walking through the mature beech forest across swing bridges to the pools. The Youn Link track is a longer walk extending from the Blue Pools track which adds a further 4km to your tramp.
Wanaka to Albert Town
This walk takes you right from your room at Bella Vista Motel Wanaka along the edge of Wanaka to the Clutha River Outlet. Then continue walking along the edge of the river to Albert Town. Take your time and enjoy a cup of coffee at the famous Pembroke Patisserie. You can then return the same way you came, or return to Wanaka via the Mount Iron Track. Finish the day with an ice cream at the very popular Patagonia Chocolates lake front store.
Tom, Melissa and the team look forward to hosting you
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‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’
Sir Ian McKellen helped blur the distinction between a fantasy land and New Zealand’s very real rugged landscapes. “Middle Earth is a real place and it is New Zealand ,” he would say:
This stunning location in Mid Canterbury is the backdrop for Edoras, the capital of Rohan and New Zealand is home so come and see it for yourself! You will feel the stress unwind as you make your way into the hills and simply let the vista blow your mind away.
Take a one and a half hour drive from your Ashburton accommodation, take a picnic, climb Mount Sunday, a low, rounded hill shaped by a glacier, and you have arrived. This was the site of Edoras in the Lord of the Rings movies. Feel the awesome power of the landscape, and imagine how the fantasy unfolded in front of these amazing vistas. We can’t recommend it enough.
The road to Mount Sunday is well signposted from Mount Somers on State Highway 72. This road takes you directly to the small settlement of Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater and then further onto Mount Sunday. The last section is a well maintained gravel road and be aware you will lose cell phone coverage just after Mount Somers. Perhaps that's not a bad thing . Make sure your car is filled with gas and you have supplies with you for the day as there are no shops of service stations from from Mount Somers onwards.
If you are travelling up this way in summer, you might also want to consider taking a dip in Lake Camp on the way or upon your return from your tramp. The lake has a roped off area and beach for swimmers and is a perfect spot for your picnic. In the winter these lakes can freeze right over and the locals go ice skating. Whatever the season, you will be stopping every 10 minutes to take another photo.
Once you have arrived at the Mount Sunday car park, it is a short walk on the well formed Mount Sunday track, but still a good pair of shoes is our advice. You’ll eventually cross a walking bridge as your ascent begins. It is a short sharp climb but is easily manageable for most people. Once at the top the views are awesome and you will get a wonderful Bella Vista (beautiful view) of the surrounding snow caped mountains and the tussock valley floor.
Upon your return back toward the Ashburton Lakes, there is another hidden gem you will be glad you discover. Look for the Hakatere Heron Road and follow it to the The Hakatere Conservation Park. This is a beautiful part of New Zealand and we encourage everyone to come and explore. It’s more of the beaten track, but the scenery is every bit impressive.
There is so much more to see including a historic building at Hakatere corner, several picturesque lakes and heaps of mountain views. There are many walks and mountain bike tracks to explore and if you love fishing, a brown trout or rainbow is yours to take from many of the lakes.
Are you excited to visit our backyard? Book Bella Vista accommodation Ashburton as you enjoy this very local Middle Earth adventure. Michelle is more than happy to give you a map and send you on your merry way with all the advice you need.
Bella Vista Motel Ashburton looks forward to hosting you and showing you our local Lord of the Rings country.
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Do you love walking or need to take some daily exercise when you are traveling, whether it is for work or pleasure? We have great walks just a few minutes from Bella Vista Whangarei that are very enjoyable. Please note that some walks may require a higher level of fitness.
Hatea Loop Track
The Hatea Loop walk is 4.2km and takes in all the sites of the Whangarei Town Basin including the Whangarei Art Museum, and the Hundertwasser Art Centre. Called Huarahi o the Whai (Pathway of Opportunity), along the way you can read the heritage panels and view the sculptures along the trail. Travel over the Te Matau Pohe (Bascule Bridge) and enjoy this picturesque setting. Once finished enjoy a nice cup of coffee along the water front viewing all the yachts. The walk can accommodate wheelchairs and is perfect for small children.
Hatea River Walk to Whangarei Falls
Follow the Hatea River through the highlights of Whangarei city including the Town Basin, Mair Park, the AH Reed Kauri Park, and Whangarei Falls. There’s a mix of pleasant bush walks and urban landscapes to enjoy on this 6km walk.
You can’t visit the Northland region of New Zealand without seeing a kauri forest! Kauri are the largest trees in New Zealand and can only be naturally found in the north of the North Island. The AH Reed Kauri Park gets you up-close to the forest giants on a tree-top boardwalk taking only 25 minutes to complete. The AH Reed Kauri Park connects to the Hatea River Walk and Whangarei Falls making for a longer walk of two and-a-half hours.
Mt Mania Walk
Fancy something more challenging? Walking up Mt Mania could be the challenge you are looking for. Located in the Whangarei Heads area, the walk is a short 45 minute drive from BV Whangarei. The total walking distance to the top is 3.5km and the round trip will take two hours climbing to 420 metres above sea level.
From the carpark, the track climbs steeply through native forest to the summit with breathtaking 360 views of the Whangarei Harbour.
Bream Head – Te Whara Track
For a real hike in the Whangarei area, make sure you hit the Te Whara Track at the Bream Head Reserve. This six hour one-way hike goes through protected kiwi habitat to deliver some sensational views at the end of the Whangarei Heads. There are also shorter walks in the reserve like the 3-hour return Peach Cove Track which links with the Te Whara Track and provides an overnight option at the Peach Cove Hut.
Whangerie is a marvelous destination and there is plenty of attractions and activities on offer including these walks enabling you to enjoy using Bella Vista as an ideal option as your preferred Whangarie accommodation choice.
Sharon and Jo look forward to hosting you.
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There are so many mountain biking options, for every level of confidence and expertise in Mid Canterbury, you can stay and play for days on our trails.
Hi, I’m Michelle, owner/ operator of the Bella Vista Ashburton along with my husband Paul and daughter Stella. I am an avid mountain biker and love nothing more than riding the local tracks with my family and friends.
I’ve lived in this district most of my life and worked in the Outdoor Education sector for years and I just love being in the outdoors. I enjoy promoting a positive culture of mountain biking in the community and I’m happy to share my knowledge with you, to help you discover and explore the best places to go for a relaxed and easy ride with the family, and the more adventurous or adrenalin fuelled fun rides in Mid Canterbury.
A local gem and one of my favourites is right on my door step - The Ashburton River Trail loop and Skills Park, a really nice place following a single track, designed for fun for all the family and it’s e-bike friendly. The Skills Park is an area developed by Mountain Bike Ashburton for riders to practice and improve their skills. We have pump tracks, jumps, rock gardens and wooden structures of varying difficulty including for kids!
The 11.5 km river track is mostly Grade 3, with easy or more difficult options around all the nice curves, berms, humps, sweeping dips, bridges, non threatening drop offs, wooden structures and rock gardens. It is a wonderful ride for beginners and is interesting for riders of all skills. The trail is well looked after by volunteers and sign posted to guide riders through the named sections in a clockwise direction, with turn around points in serval places to shorten the ride. You can find out more by visiting the Ashburton MTB website or the mountain bike trail directory, Trailforks
Other trails close by are Lake Hood and Hakatere Ride to the beach, both making for a very pleasant spin. Cross Country adventure can be found found in the spectacular high country at the Hakatere Conservation Park and an adrenaline rush at the Mt Hutt Bike Park, only a 45 min drive away.
With your ride completed, return to Bella Vista Motel Ashburton to wash down your bikes, enjoy a comfortable nights sleep, all ready for the next exciting day. If you need some help with gear, check out my friends from Stocked Cycles for advice.
I can't believe nobody has commented on this at all. This is a really fun spot with fun little jumps and the straight roller section was a blast to work on manuals through rollers. Pump track is super fun. Thank you for building this spot we had a blast.
Ashburton is a great place to base yourself as you enjoy all the local mountain biking adventures. Give me a call to book your next break away with the family - 03 3077505. We look forward to hosting you.
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Mention that you are staying in Kaikoura to friends and family and that you and are looking for local Kaikoura restaurant recommendations, they will invariably tell you to head up the coast for a beautiful 20 minute drive to enjoy freshly cooked seafood at the iconic Nin's Bin.
Whilst this is great advice and Nin's Bin is an awesome stop, there are plenty of terrific restaurants in Kaikoura town centre that you can enjoy when staying at Bella Vista. Our Kaikoura accommodation situated just above the town means any night out for dinner is just a mere stroll away. Here are our favourites.
The Pier Hotel is one of Kaikoura’s most iconic places to eat, situated right on the coast looking out over the sea to the stunning panoramic views of the Kaikoura ranges. Built in the 1800s the Pier Hotel is amazing summer or winter with the view well worth the visit but the food is also amazing in its own right! Offering fresh seafood and of course the famous Kaikoura Crayfish(lobster) as well as other culinary delights, the menu offers something for everyone. The Pier Hotel is located 15min walk from the town and 20minutes walk from the Bella Vista Motel or a short 5 min drive.
Kaikoura Seafood BBQ
The famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ featured in Lonely Planet as the best place to get Crayfish(lobster). Situated on the beach before Point Kean Seal Colony this long-standing seaside BBQ also does great chowder, fish and whitebait fritters. Definitely a must do on a visit to Kaikoura the BBQ is a 30 minutes’ walk along the coast from town and 35 minutes from the Bellavista motel, well worth making the effort to walk as Point Kean Seal Colony is only 5 more minutes’ walk up the beach!
Situated right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bellavista Motel Coopers Catch is the ultimate place to enjoy good old kiwi fish and chips, hard to miss with the guaranteed huge crowd of people outside Coopers Catch does seafood like no other, their moto is “We don’t make fast food, we make good food as fast as we can” is right on the money. The best place in town to get seafood like no other.
Another great place to eat right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bella Vista motel. The Whaler is famous for its steaks and ribs, with a huge fire roaring in the winter and the amazing views of the snow-capped Kaikoura ranges as a backdrop from the deck who could think of a better way to spend the afternoon or evening.
Famous in town for its pizza and pasta the Groper garage was formally a fuel garage and is also in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk away from the Bella Motel. Featuring two large roaring fires this is certainly well worth the visit for both its food and ambiance.
If none of these options quite take your fancy, do get in touch and we're sure we'll find some other suitable eating options that you can enjoy in Kaikoura. We look forward to hosting you.
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Wanaka is becoming the must-visit destination for cyclists. Whether you are a mountain bike rider or prefer a road bike, there are plenty of options to choose from. The team at Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation will be happy to host you and lend you their advice during your stay.
Here's Bella Vista's rundown of the top ten rides in the Wanaka region:
1. Hawea River Track (MTB)
Suitable for all ages and experience, this 12km riverside track is over easy country and links Lake Hawea township to Wanaka, via Albert Town. Plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee and a treat!
2. Newcastle & Upper Clutha River Track Loop (MTB)
By combining the Newcastle and Upper Clutha River Track you get a great loop circuit of about 35km in length. With stunning views up and down the Clutha River, and plenty of places to stop for a beer or coffee, this is a good track for those looking for something a bit longer. Stop off at the Luggate Hotel, Hook or Pembroke Patisserie and Double Black Café for treats on the way!
3. Glendhu Bay Track & Bike Glendhu (MTB)
For spectacular lake and mountain views, it's hard to go past the 15km Glendhu Bay Track. The first section of the track is quite hilly with some short, steep sections and drops, intended for intermediate riders only. Be sure to watch out for and give way to pedestrians.
Just up the road from Glendhu Bay is Bike Glendhu, Wanaka's newest mountain bike park. The park consists of 1,000 hectares over impeccable trails, designed for specifically for mountain biking. With peaks that drop from sky to water, alpine rocks, roots and remarkable views, it's a paradise for dirt lovers.
4. Sticky Forest (MTB)
This fun network of single tracks makes the best of the pine forest located within the Wanaka township. There are over twenty tracks to choose from for intermediate to advanced riders. To get some practice nailing those jumps, head to Lismore Jump Park.
5. Deans Bank & Hikuwai Loop (MTB)
The Hikuwai Loop is about a 9km circuit depending on where you start and finish the track. Deans Bank is an 11km fast, flowing single track loop for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers with some great banks and berms.
6. Cardrona Valley (MTB & Road Bike)
In the summer months, you can head up to Cardrona Alpine Resort for downhill biking and mountain carting, while across the valley on the Pisa Range are a number of tracks and even huts to stay in overnight. For road bikers, the 90km return ride to the top of the Crown Range offers a great workout as well.
7. Treble Cone Return (Road Bike)
The rolling terrain of Mt Aspiring Road makes for great road riding, with several fast flats that are irresistible for testing your sprinting legs. 45km, 1-2 hours return.
8. Lake Hawea Circuit (Road Bike)
Generally, a flat or gently undulating ride, the 50km loop from Wanaka to Lake Hawea and back via Wanaka Airport is mostly on quiet, rural roads and includes great views of Lake Hawea. Maybe this is why it is a favourite with the locals.
9. The Neck (Road Bike)
This must be one of the most spectacular road bike rides in New Zealand and offers epic lake and mountain scenery. Turn around at The Neck for an 80km return ride from Wanaka, or continue to Makarora and even Haast Pass for even more spectacular scenery and views of Mt Aspiring National Park. Warning: The road does get hillier from The Neck onwards!
10. Tarras & Ardgour Road Loop (Road Bike)
A fast, mostly flat ride through the Upper Clutha River valley and onwards to Tarras where you take a superb section of quiet, rural road and loop back around to Tarras. Luckily, there is a great coffee stop here to help keep you going on this 95km ride.
Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation is located right in the centre of town, just one block from Lake Wanaka. If you are travelling with your bike do get in touch to ensure we can meet all your cycle focused needs. We are looking forward to hosting you.
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Long summer days at Great Lake Taupo are abuzz with water-skiers, boats, kayaks, and swimmers. With warm and settled weather, make sure you get out of your Bella Vista Taupo accommodation and have endless fun on the lake!
The trout-filled lake is a world renowned fishing paradise. Charter a fishing boat and drop your line, we are sure you will catch some trout. Most of the charters are happy to clean your catch and even smoke the trout for you! So not just a great day out and dinner to take home.
If you are looking for something even more relaxed and leisurely, jump on board one of the lake cruise operators. You have the option to choose from a steamboat, catamaran, or even a sailing boat. All of them will take you across the lake to Mines Bay to view the famous Taupo Maori Rock Carving Ngatoroirangi was completed as recently as the late 1980s. Towering 10 metres high from the water, the carving is an absolute must-see.
One of the most popular water activities on the lake is kayaking. The Mines Bay half-day tour will suit those with the energy to paddle and will offer the benefit of getting closer to the water and nature. For families or for someone who wants a slightly less energetic paddle, join Canoe & Kayak on the Waikato River Float where you will gently coast along with the river current.
If you are after some water activities which offer a little more adrenaline such as jet ski, or boat with water ski and wake board these are also available for hire. Or maybe you are wanting to try another popular option such as a stand up paddle board. The best place to hire equipment is Lakefun by the habour.
If water activities are not your thing, pack up a picnic and head to one of the local popular spots such as Secombe Park or Wharewaka Point where you can relax by the lakefront and enjoy watching the day go by.
Whatever you end up doing during your stay in Taupo, we're certain that the Bella Vista accommodation Taupo will meet your every need. Book now!
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Taupo, at the heart of the North Island has been a magnet for tourist for decades. The close proximity of many attractions makes exploring from your Taupo accommodation very easy.
Below are just a few of the many things you can enjoy doing for free while in Taupo.
Most-visited natural attraction in NZ. Nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second gushing through a narrow gorge into the mighty Waikato River. There is a popular walking track along the river connecting to Spa Thermal Park near town.
Spa Thermal Park
Wanting a free outdoor hot pool experience? The area has been recently upgraded, which includes toilet & changing room. There is even a pop-up café. Avoid the crowd by visiting in the morning.
The Great Lake Pathway
The walkway shore begins in the town centre and extend along the lake to 5 Miles Bay. It is perfectly suited for families & offers spectacular views across Lake Taupo to the snow-capped peaks of Central Plateau volcanoes. There is plenty of stop off points for breaks, coffee, ice-cream, swims & photo opportunities.
Watch the release of millions of litres of water from the Aratiatia Dam, which creates a spectacular flow of water through a narrow gorge. Best vantage point is just 10 minutes’ walk downstream on a well-marked track. Release daily at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm (and 4pm during summer).
Check out over 80 murals painted around the Taupo town centre. These murals brings transformation, wonder and vibrancy to the urban lane ways and streets. Don’t forget to check out the painted helicopter located at THE HUB near Huka Falls.
There are 2 community markets in Taupo held on weekends. Abundance of art and craft stalls, fruit, vegetables, flowers, artisan baked goods, and hot meals are available. Both open from 9am – 1pm.
Farmers Market – Every Saturdays. Nukahau Shops, 3 minutes’ drive from town centre. Market Central – Every Sunday. Northcote Reserve along the lake front in town centre.
Bella Vista Taupo is located just a few blocks from both the town centre and Taupo lake front. Situated on a quiet road it is easily accessible and well located. Jason and Miyuki look forward to hosting you.
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