Taupo Must Dos
Taupo is a vibrant community with a bustling café and restaurant scene, and varied nightlife. The boutique nature of the shopping area and ongoing calendar of events makes this a destination to suit all visitors.
The outdoor lifestyle is second to none here with easy access to the bush, lake and mountains. Time away is about enjoying the simple things in life and Taupo certainly delivers on this.
Take a ride on the iconic Lions Train – no family holiday in Taupo is complete without taking the little ones on the train based on the Tongariro South Domain. Operates holidays and weekends.
Fish and chips on the lakefront – Eat alfresco, just like a local. Take in the spectacular views while watching the sun sink behind the mountains.
Visit two of the best vantage points along the Waikato River, Lake Taupo’s only water outlet and the longest river in New Zealand, for some serious fast-moving water action. The Huka Falls are the country’s most visited natural attraction, and can be visited by car, foot, bike, jet boat, riverboat or helicopter, accessed off SH1.
The Aratiatia Rapids are a unique experience - watch as the dam opens daily at 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm - summer, and 10am, 12pm and 4pm – winter. Some must do ‘rapid action’. Situated a short distance off SH5.
One of the best ways to see the region is from the air – take a scenic flight from Taupo and get a unique perspective on the mountains of the Tongariro National Park, the Kaimanawa Ranges, and beautiful Lake Taupo.
Soak in a thermal hot pool – Choose from one of Taupo’s mineral water pool and aquatic facilities, where you can experience the benefits of the mineral waters; or stay at one of our many accommodation providers who have their own thermal hot pools.
Gardens galore – visit some of the beautiful public parks and gardens open in the district, such as the Botanical Gardens and the Rose Garden. For location information ask at the local i-SITEs.
Lake Taupo is the site of the world’s largest eruption in the last 5,000 years. The results of its earth shattering creation can be seen everywhere with active volcanoes, spectacular steaming cliffs, geysers, boiling lakes, bubbling mud pools and floating rocks called pumice. Visit the Craters of the Moon or one of the other significant geothermal sites in this region and the Volcanic Activity Centre, to learn more about our fascinating area.
Enjoy the many walking and mountain biking tracks this region has to offer, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Trail maps are available at the local i-SITEs.
Fancy a bit of adrenaline rushing through your veins?
Why not leap off a platform with nothing but a bungy cord attached to your ankles? Or hurl yourself out of a plane with your jump master at the world’s busiest skydive dropzone? Taupo is an adventure lover’s paradise, with white water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and motorsport all easily accessible. For a bit of family fun try rafting or jet boating, where you can view the Huka Falls, see the Aratiatia Rapids or jet boat right up to a thermal reserve.
For a more relaxed holiday, try some of Taupo’s more leisurely activities.
There are some great activity centres which the kids will love, or relax and unwind at one of our sensational day spas. Take a scenic flight, a guided tour or simply relax and enjoy some sumptuous wine and cuisine at any one of Taupo’s scenic locations. The boutique shopping for designer clothing, homewares and art is one the regions true pleasures.
Great Lake Taupo has a proud history and heritage built around Tangata Whenua (People of the Land).
The earliest traditions and legends, the stories from pre-European history, contemporary Maori eco-cultual activities, and our iconic Kapa Haka and Hangi product all combine to give visitors to Great Lake Taupo an authentic and unique cultural experience. Some fine examples of Maori cultural artwork and the award winning Pure Ora Garden are situated at the Taupo Museum and Art Gallery, and there are boutique galleries around the region showcasing locally produced art for every taste.
Taupo offers a number of memorable experiences on the water. Enjoy this region’s unspoilt environment by boat, picnic on a beach, visit the Maori Rock Carvings or simply brunch on board any number of charter options.
The Tongariro River is Great Lake Taupo’s main spawning river and world famous for the size and quantity of trout in it. Fly-fishing guides will have you hooked up to a fish on your first day. The best river time is during the winter spawning runs – June to September. Lake fishing is fantastic all year round. Remember to purchase your fishing license at the i-SITES or local fishing shops before venturing out.
The Great Lake Taupo region is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, a volcanic wonderland stretching from White Island to Tongariro National Park.
Visit one of our active geothermal areas, or enjoy the thermal mineral waters of our local hot pools, where you can bathe your cares away.
Within this area you’ll see spectacular steaming cliffs, geysers, boiling lakes, bubbling mud pools and floating pumice rocks.
5 TOP WALKS
2. Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids (4hrs return) – Track begins over the bridge at Huka Falls. Try to time your arrival at the rapids when the dam is due to open. Check times with the Taupö i-Site Visitor Centre.
3. Great Lake Walkway (time varies) – Track begins anywhere on Lake Terrace and heads around the lake towards Turangi. Finish at Wharewaka Point, or continue as far as Five Mile Bay.
4. Rangatira Point Walking Track (1.5hrs return) – The track begins off Acacia Bay Road, and leads around the lakeshore to Totara Bay. The main track continues on to Rangatira Point and loops back to meet the road.
5. Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch (4.5hrs) – Track begins at Whakaipo Bay,head right and climb over the stile to begin. It is fully signposted and family friendly. Care should be taken as it is a shared mountain bike track.
The Great Lake Taupo region has some of New Zealand’s best road and mountain bike tracks, some rate this regions mountain bike trails up there with the best in the world.
Try biking the gullies and walking tracks of town or the pine scented exotic forests close by. Taupo offers over 90 kms of off road tracks ranging from gentle to heart pumping. Many of the tracks, such as the Whakaipo to Kinloch (W2K) trail follow beautiful bush trails, where you can catch glimpses of the lake, rivers and mountains. For the thrill-seeker try heli-biking into the mountains or for the more chilled-out biker enjoy a ride through rolling bush tracks in the pine forest. And as a real bonus, there are many fantastic cafes at some of the exit and entry points to several mountain bike tracks, great for post ride replacement or as an adrenalin pump prior to setting off.
Taupo’s biking and cycling options offer something for all ranges of fitness, experience and budget. This is an exciting adventure sport for speed, spills and thrills.
And of course Great Lake Taupo is also home to some pretty iconic road cycle events, so you’re spoilt for choice whatever you prefer!