Fun Things to Do While Backpacking Around Taupo

What are the most fun experiences for young backpackers around New Zealand, and in the Great Lake Taupo region in particular?

Gabe Saunders is a tourism expert who specialises in travel around New Zealand and Australia. As well as organising tours of New Zealand's North Island, Gabe is also involved with car hire in Cairns, Australia, allowing tourists to take in the Great Barrier Reef before traveling across the rest of the country. 

New Zealand is one of the finest countries in the world for taking a backpacking holiday.  There are many things to see and do, which is why a wide range of demographics favor trips to the country. However, those who take backpacking holidays will often be younger individuals who are taking a break from study, or embarking on a gap year prior to concentrating on their career.

Explore for Yourself

Buddy up with people in hostels who are thinking the same thing as you

This is something of a double-edged sword. It is typical of traveling that you’re only going to find the very best places if you head off to discover them yourself. At the same time, you don’t want to head out and end up getting lost in the middle of a forest or halfway up a mountain.

There are a few ways around this, however. The first is to buddy up with people in hostels who are thinking the same thing as you; you can then travel out together with a map, your smartphones, and anything else you will need to help you explore without walking into the middle of nowhere.

Another idea is to find a local to be your guide, or just ask where the best places are. Whatever you decide, throwing the guidebook away and exploring for yourself is essential to a fun backpacking experience, particularly if you're looking to explore the outdoors and not just passing through Taupo on a trip through New Zealand or across North Island.


Enough of the generic things to do such as explore; it is time to start looking at the exciting stuff. Skydiving in Taupo, when you'll drop from the airplane with a view of Lake Taupo, volcanic mountains, dense forests and thermal springs, is a 'must do' travel experience for anyone in the area.  Skydiving anywhere is an amazing experience, but it gets even better when there's so much scenery to enjoy on the way down; it beats doing it over a desert or an empty field all day long!

White Water Rafting 

Lake Taupo and the surrounding water system is one of the best places for rafting in New Zealand.  If you want a calmer experience then it's worth sticking to the lake, however the surrounding river network – especially the Tongariro River down the southern end of the lake - offers opportunities for adrenaline fueled white water rafting experiences. 

You could also try kayaking down the Waikato River closer to Taupo town. The only thing you need to avoid is steering clear of the fast and dangerous currents close to Huka Falls, which is one of New Zealand's most spectacular waterfalls; it's definitely worth checking out from a distance, though.

As well as enjoying the activity itself, you also have the chance to view some stunning native wildlife that makes its' home at the water's edge. Now did you remember to pack your waterproof camera

Thermal Hot Pools 

Otumuheke Stream at Taupo's Spa Park

There are people who think that sitting in a hot tub at home recreates the thermal spring experience. Try the real thing, however, and you'll find that there's nothing like the genuine article. There are several places you can choose to go and there are even some free spots around the Lake Terrace and in a place called Spa Park. Check with a local and they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

We’ve chosen what we think are the most exciting pursuits for backpackers to do in the Great Lake Taupo region. Of course, there are many more to pick out, and you’ll probably have some personal ambitions when it comes to some particular activities you want to do, whether it be hiking or foraging through dense woodland; you might even have chosen something from a guidebook.

Whatever you do, remember that your trip to Great Lake Taupo and New Zealand in general, could be a real once in a lifetime experience, so make the most of it.

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