After months of planning and excitement leading up to our Dive Club trip to Northland & the Poor Knights – the weather did NOT play the game.
So with a quick scan of the weather, ensuring our accommodation was available for an extra night and more importantly that the tank filler was not away over the weekend we headed up to Taupo for some dives.
Taupo is not only fresh water but also at altitude so we had to take into account these variables when planning our dives. The lake bed is volcanic so very silty and drops off to depth relatively quickly so buoyancy is key.
There is not a lot of variety when it comes to aquatic life in the lake but we did see large numbers of common bullies and koura and a couple of trout.
We completed two dives in Lake Taupo at Wharewaka & Acacia Bay.
Wharewaka (or 4 Mile Bay) has an easy beach entry, a weedline in the 4-5m mark and if you head west from the point you will reach a nice rock wall home to koura. The sandy point keeps heading out deeper but we stayed at `21m for our first dive in fresh water.
Acacia Bay has a couple of entry points and our favourite is down a small bush track with a giant stride off the point. Heading east this time we ventured down to 26m for our deep dive and then south to visit a large rockfall and wall which creates some interesting terrain to explore as we worked our back to the shallows. We have been creating a rock circle on our previous visits – perhaps other divers will think there are aliens?
With low lake levels we opted against climbing out by the point and swam in along the weed line to the beach instead.
Sunday afternoon after a long discussion on low flow rates down the Waikato River and catching up with some of our divers who had down the drift dive the day before we decided we needed to earn our visit to the hot pools by doing another dive after all.
This dive does require some logistical planning to have the right cars and drivers at each end and making sure all dive gear is at the start and the dry gear at our exit.
There were definitely times when we had to kick and we were hoping we were still kicking downstream but other areas had some decent current as we flew along the shallower areas. There definitely wasn’t enough water around to swim up to the hot stream but the kicking kept us warm during our 55m dive.
We headed straight from the dive to De Bretts Hot Pools for a good soak and a chance to chat about the dives and what we had experienced.
PS: On the trip home we stopped off at the Pillars of Hercules and we were rewarded by seeing a pair of Whio (Blue Ducks).