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Tongariro River, New Zealand
Entrance trout waiting for tourist feeding sessions, New Zealand

I think it is a place where drivers keep on driving on their way south? Stop, check it out and be surprised.

National Trout Centre is a practical name for a mesmerising encounter. The State Highway One sign is functional. Children will not be bored and adults get a chance to view, at very close quarters lots and lots of swimming trout.

Pink bellied, gleaming, swimming, shafts of silvered trout circle around the bridge entrance. The entrance is the quintessential New Zealand river view of swirls, curls and water movement from a swift moving stream. Then around the corner you are greeted by outdoor seating, a cafe with essentials such as coffee, drinks and ice-cream and helpful front line assistants. The centre is very close to Turangi and is situated in the North Island, Central Plateau district.

Your journey through the centre engages visitors with the story of New Zealand tourism and the trout. There is a dingy with fishing gear, a room stacked with tackle, rods and wet water clothing, aquariums with eels and native fish which make for an excellent introduction.

The New Zealand freshwater ecosystem is a narrative throughout the centre. Design elements capture the imagination of young and old.

The Centre has a native forest walk along the Tongariro River with signs describing flora and fauna together with picnic tables. Swimming, fishing and walking the banks of the river formed part of my trout encounter.

The river system has an underwater glass viewing platform providing a glimpse of trout in the shallows of a creek bed. This is fascinating for younger members of your group as the fish are up close in their natural habitat, a fresh water stream.

And, if you catch a trout the centre helpfully smokes the fish for you.

Duration of visit between 2-4 hours depending on activities undertaken. Admission is not free, although you can walk to the Tongariro River without charge. The admission supports the Whio duck rehabilitation programme as well as research into all things trout.

Travel Pack Information

The journey is worth it.

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