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Libby has a deep love of nature. Her Taupo is all about embracing the beautiful landscapes and activities that go with it - from fishing to mountain biking to soaking in mineral-rich hot pools.
Libby loves nothing better than a fish in the early morning followed by an afternoon of bike riding.
Fishermen (and women) are notoriously secretive of their favourite fishing spots. Libby O'Brien is no different. Luckily the rivers and lakes of the Taupo region are teeming with brown and rainbow trout. Visit a local fishing shop in Taupo or Turangi to find the current hot spots. Or for more guidance, why not hire a fishing guide for the day? An experienced guide can teach you fly fishing techniques as well as let you in on the secret spots.
In the afternoon, discover one of the 50km of trails in Craters Mountain Bike Park. The trails cater for all abilities and run in and out of exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations, with some stunning views of Lake Taupo and the Waikato River. The volcanic pumice soils allow for year round riding with free draining qualities that are not found anywhere else in New Zealand.
After a busy day, wind down in one of Libby's favourite restaurants Vine Eatery and Bar. Indulge in a bottle of wine from the vast range on offer over tapas or from the full a-la-carte menu for those wanting a more traditional kiwi approach to dining.
Places of interest
Vine Eatery & Bar
Creel Tackle House & Cafe
Taupo Rod & Tackle
Bill Grace Production Fishing
Craters Mountain Bike Park
Riverstone Fly Fishing Guides
The New Zealand Fly Fishing Company
Bryce Curle Fly Fishing Guide
Chris Jolly Outdoors - Fly Fishing
Taupo Kayaking Adventures - Kayak Fishing Tours
Along the shores of Lake Taupo lies a network of 84km of grade 3 bike trails called the Great Lake Trails. With spectacular views of Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, passing sparkling waterfalls and native forest, the pumice-rich soil makes it ideal riding all year round. Libby says ‘You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, with amazing scenery. There are four sections – pick one and do it.' Make your day's ride more relaxing by organising transport, a guide to ride with you or an e-bike to take the pressure off your legs.
After a long day in the water or on the saddle, Libby likes to unwind in Wairakei Terraces, one of Taupo’s geothermal healing hot pools. This adult only complex features hot pools of varying temperatures where weary muscles can unwind in mineral-rich healing waters. ‘It is really peaceful and lovely. I’m always falling off my bike so this is where I go when I have really bashed myself up!’
Places of interest
Waihaha Section - Great Lake Trails
W2K Trail -Great Lake Trails
K2K Trail - Great Lake Trails
Otaketake Trail - Great Lake Trails
Headland Loop Trail (Great Lake Trails)
Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa
FourB - Great Lake Trails Shuttles
There's nothing quite like a boat trip on Lake Taupo. Take a private fishing charter or a scenic cruise to the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, New Zealand's most extraordinary art work. The lake is dotted with secluded beaches and bays where you can anchor up, enjoy a meal, music, a book and gaze at the mountains.
For some retail therapy, Libby visits local retailer Spacecraft. ‘This cute little place is owned by a couple of local women who started in their garage. It has the best selection of house plants I’ve ever come across, a cool selection of NZ made clothing and bags and all the things you don’t think you need but definitely do.'
A coffee fix is often needed to fuel Libby’s busy days. One of her favorites is Taupo institution, Replete Café. Established in 1993, it is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. ‘It’s an old favourite of mine. You can’t go past it for coffee.’
Finish off your day with a trip to Huka Falls. The most-visited natural attraction in New Zealand, nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupts from a natural gorge and thunders 11m into the Waikato River below. Huka Falls are a beautiful walk or bike ride from Taupo town centre through Spa Thermal Park along the banks of the Waikato River.
Places of interest
Replete Cafe & Store
Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls walk
Huka Falls Lookout Walk
Kindred Spirit - Maori Carvings Sailing Tour
Scenic boat tour to the Māori Rock Carvings with Chris Jolly Outdoors
Maori Rock Carvings with Taupo Kayaking Adventures
Kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings with Canoe & Kayak
For nearly 100 years, the Huka Lodge kitchen has fed guests who come from around the world to catch trout in the luminescent blue-green Waikato River beside the luxury lodge. For five years, chef Paul Froggatt has led Huka Lodge’s kitchen.Find out more
Glass artist Lynden Over’s award-winning style is distinctive and striking. Working in front of a roaring furnace, he twists and blends molten canes of coloured glass together in a painterly way, swirling and stippling the colour in layers to create dramatic, weighty glass vessels that are sought-after by collectors around the world.Find out more
“They say a photograph tells 1000 words, but for me, a photograph only tells part of the story. When you look at a photograph, you are missing out on the sensation of the area, being out there in the cold and the wind.Find out more