New Year’s Bach, Pt. 1: The Lake House

In Kiwi slang, a bach (pronounced “batch”) is a vacation house or beach house. I have heard that the etymology comes from “bachelor pad”, which seems born out in the pronunciation but something of a misnomer — they tend to be owned by families.

In any case, over New Year’s I was kindly invited by a friend to her family’s bach down on Lake Taupo in Pukawa. I accepted quickly and with great vigor. I and five friends spent a total of about a week in this lovely lake house. While there, we had some great adventures. This post is not about those adventures; it’s merely an introduction to the area.

True to form, though I spent a week in the house I got no pictures of the actual structure. So the opening photo of this post is the view from the back porch. Which is honestly far better than looking at the house itself, as the scenery is utterly magnificent.

This is what we woke up to each morning. I will show more photos of the lake, but first some stories from the trip.

The drive down wound up being a bit of an adventure. Two of our friends were visiting from Australia, and they had hired a car. But the car couldn’t fit all of us, so I ended up having to drive my little roadster as well. My friend Kali was good driving company, but we got started late enough that it got dark pretty early into the four hour journey (which, due to various hijinks, became closer to a five hour journey).

By the time we’d gotten pretty close — just a bit less than an hour away — our friends’ car pulled into a closed petrol station. We pulled up beside for a confab, and they informed us that they did not have enough fuel to make it the rest of the way. And of course the filling stations in these rural towns are not generally open that late (by that time it was past 10). They used cell phones to figure out where there was a station which was likely to be open, and we found one…about 25km in the wrong direction. So we had to drive 25km North, filled up, and then drove that same 25km back South.

The second adventure was due to the GPS unit that Rob, our friend from Sydney, had purchased upon arrival (not that I’m throwing Rob under the bus; it could have happened to anyone). I guess it got confused, because instead of leading us onto the motorway, it led us onto a private road next to a recycling plant which ran parallel to the motorway. Once again, Rob’s car pulled over and we had a pow-wow.

Me: What’s the problem?
Chloe: We need to be on the Motorway
Me: And where is that?
Chloe: On the other side of that gorge

Fortunately, Kali had spotted a truck access road across the gorge. Unfortunately, it was less of a road, per se, and more of a gravel pit that was less steep than the actual gorge. Heavy trucks could make it, and Rob’s rented Corolla made it. My Alfa Spider also made it…begrudgingly. I could smell my clutch pretty sharply!

Anyway, we finally got to the bach around 11:30 or so, as I recall. Our friend Taylor (whom you may recall from the Rangitoto trip) and his buddy Alby (who just stayed one night) had been waiting for us for hours.

Even if I had known what an adventure the trip would be, I still would have done it. Because of this:

As befits a lake house, it’s quite easy to walk down to the lake.

We jumped in for a swim the first day there. The water…could be described as “bracing”. Or in more common terms, quite chilly.

The sun was hot, though, so those of us with higher cold tolerances played in the water while the others lay around in the shade.

Temperature notwithstanding, Lake Taupo is certainly a lovely location. In 2014 I actually got the chance to visit the town of Taupo (on pretty much the opposite side of the lake from us), so I was prepared for nice scenery. But even so…wow.

I also took the opportunity to mess with settings on my camera and see what works best. Sunsets can be particularly tricky exposures, but I got plenty of practice.

The first couple of nights were quite clear, as were the days.

The next night had an interesting shadow cast on the sunset. I feel quite proud of myself for capturing this as well as I did; here is the same sunset as seen by my phone’s camera:

Not quite the same.

And I’ll close out the post with this from New Year’s Eve. The final sunset of 2015.

But in between these sunsets lay some epic adventures! Stay tuned, because I can’t wait to tell you about them!


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