If you’re near Taupo and looking for a peaceful and relaxing time with a yummy (hopefully) ending then I would check out Huka Prawn Park. New Zealand’s only prawn park is unique to say the least. It is basically a park with several ponds that are filled with a combination of water from the Waikato river and geothermal fluid from the nearby geothermal power station. This allows the breeding of tropical prawns in captivity! Really, only in New Zealand.
The park has paddle boarding, trout feeding, water bikes, and pedal boats but the biggest attraction is prawn fishing. For $28 adult, you pay for all-day entry with access to the park, rental of a fishing pole, some bait, and a bucket to hold your prawns. You get your pole, bait and bucket from the hut on the way to the ponds. The ponds themselves are pretty cool – warm and toasty even in the winter. There are some boats to get into but most people fish from the shore or from little piers that are out over the water.
Your job as fisher person is to bait your hook and put the pole in the water. Let the bait sink to the bottom and then wait for a nibble from a curious prawn. The instructions tell you to let the prawn nibble on the bait for a bit (I think they said 60 seconds) and then slowly pull the bait out of the water. If you’re lucky, the prawn will be so keen on the bait by then it will stick with it as you pull it out of the water and drop it in your bucket.
Unless you’re us. Between four of us we caught two prawns in about an hour and a half but we had many many nibbles. It was fun and we enjoyed the experience but it wasn’t going to make a tasty meal. We wound up giving our prawns to another group that was fishing as we headed out to make sure we got to Hobbiton in time for our dinner banquet.
If you are luckier than us though then the facility has a place to grill or boil your prawns after you catch them and it also has a restaurant in case you didn’t catch enough for dinner.
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