Wednesday 8 January 2020

Christmas holiday in Taupo

Our good friend Temi recently moved to Taupo for work; Martin and I decided to go and visit her for a week over Christmas.

To reduce the carbon footprint of our trip, we went by bus,* including catching the local bus into town to catch our bus.

* a long-distance bus in New Zealand has about a sixth the carbon footprint per person as the total footprint of an 'average' petrol car traveling the same distance.  That means your emissions are about equal if you have all five seats in the car full, but with just the two of us it reduced our emissions to a third.

Martin walking along our street to catch the bus.  He had the bulk of the luggage.

Me walking from the bus to Temi's place in Taupo (about 20 min from the bus stop) - the soft toy bear I'm carrying is the same one he had earlier.
I found it very satisfying to travel all the way to Taupo without using a car, although it did take a fair bit longer.  It should have been about 6.5 hours door to door, but was just over 7 due to both traffic delays and someone not getting back on the bus in time at the lunch stop.

We had five full days in Taupo and I swam in the lake on four of them :-)

It was cold, but not too bad late in the day when the water in the shallows had warmed up, and so much fun!

Lighting our advent candles (mini oil lamps) with Temi on the 4th Sunday of advent.

one of many glorious sunsets, sadly coming to us courtesy of the Australian bush fires

one evening we had a picnic dinner by the lake (Temi lives about four houses back from the highway that goes along the lake front)

Christmas lunch - there was also turkey and heaps of dessert
On Boxing Day Temi was kind enough to drive us around a bunch of sites I was keen to visit.

bush walk near Huka Falls

Martin contemplating the falls

me looking at New Zealand's only prawn farm, at the end of our bush walk.  Apparently it was originally intended as a proper commercial prawn farm (NZ is generally too cold for prawns, but they heat the water geothermaly here) but it didn't take off.  Nowadays it's a tourist attraction where people can catch then cook their own prawns, although I don't think it's all that popular: we were pretty sure the only people we saw there were staff.

beautiful Acacia Bay - just around the lake from Taupo itself, and the site of our family summer holiday when I was 22 or so.

I rather liked this tea towel (I think belonging to the landlord) that we saw at Temi's house.

Martin spent a couple of afternoons clearing and replanting the vegie garden at the place Temi's staying, including building teepee trellises for sugar-snap peas against the shed.

Coming home we caught an Intercity bus, which took a different route and had more stops than the Skip bus we'd gone down on.  It took a fair bit longer (nearly 8 hours, door to door) as there was a scheduled driver change at Pokeno but the driver coming down from Auckland was stuck in Christmas holiday traffic and we ended up waiting about an hour for him to show up.  Still, I managed remarkably well energy-wise, although I suspect a bus trip to Taupo is probably my limit distance-wise for now.

Martin having lunch outside Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Tokoroa - a surprisingly lovely spot, given how close it was to the very busy main highway.

Overall, our carbon emissions for the trip were about 100kg CO2e.  That's about the same amount the planet can absorb per person per month, so not too bad for a special treat for two!  That's composed of:
  • bus there and back: 44kg CO2e
  • three tea towels we bought as a gift: 40kg CO2e (although this number is super-approximate - it's for cotton but the tea towels were ramie.  We avoid new cotton unless it's organic, due to the high rates of cotton farmer deaths from pesticide exposure.)
  • our contributions towards special food for Christmas: 12kg CO2e (mostly chocolate and dairy products)
  • driving around Taupo: 7kg CO2e (a bit under 40km all up)

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