January 14, 2006
Samurai Backpackers in Turangi, NZ:
We’ve left the eye-watering sulfur scent of Rotorua behind and settled in the small town of Turangi. In between the two cities, we stopped for a free day-and-a-half in the city of Taupo, a city built on the site of the largest volcano to erupt in written history. Unlike what most people would picture as a volcano, Taupo is an inverse volcano causing it to be more
of a crater in the ground than a cone coming from the ground. The crater formed is known as a caldera, which is basically any crater wider than 1 kilometer across, filled with water forming Lake Taupo, the largest lake in all of New Zealand. To give you an idea of how big this volcano is, the lake, which has filled most of the caldera, is over 616 km2! It comes to no surprise then to learn that Taupo ash is found all over New Zealand and surrounding countries and continents, including Antarctica!
The time in Taupo is sure to be remembered by many as some found themselves jumping over a river strung only by a bungi cord while still others found themselves jumping out of airplanes from even higher elevations with nothing but a parachute. If not interested in jumping from planes or bungi cords for one reason or another, Taupo could still give a goodtime as some went jet boating, kayaking, or the old
fashioned thrill of cliff jumping. On my free day I found myself relaxing on a shore of the Taupo river, snorkeling over 15 meters deep or more of crystal clear water, jumping off cliffs, and fighting the harsh river currents. What a time!
Now in Turangi, the group is split between two backpackers, Extreme and Samurai Backpackers. Though my sleeping quarters are positioned at Extreme, I have spent much of my time at Samurai talking to the owner Mokoto, a real Samurai who was featured in the film The Last Samurai.