Free Taupo Things To Do
Huka Falls – Huka Falls are New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction and this thundering waterfall lives up to the hype. The Falls are an incredible sight, over 220,000 litres of water flow through the rock face per second, enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools, per second! Huka Falls are easily visited on foot or by car, situated off SH1 just north of Taupo on Huka Falls Loop Road.
Aratiatia Rapids - Watch the raging torrent of water surge through the Aratiatia Rapids when the hydro gates are opened and this natural Taupo attraction is brought to life. The gates open at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm in summer and 10am, 12noon and 2pm in winter. Signposted off SH5m, the rapids are approximately 10km north of Lake Taupo. To take advantage of the best views make sure you arrive 15 minutes early and walk the short track to one of two lookout points.
Spa Park to Huka Falls Walk - From Spa Park, pass the Spa Park Taupo Hot Pools and follow the track beside the Waikato River, enjoying the fresh air and surrounding bush. The track will lead you away from the river and provides some great views of cliffs, native bush, mid-channel islands as well as the exclusive Huka Lodge. Make sure you bring your camera! As you get closer you’ll start to hear the roaring sounds of the mighty Huka Falls. Allow two hours for the return journey on foot or arrange transport from the Huka Falls carpark.
Spa Park Hot Pools - Otumuheke Stream winds its way through a series of small natural Taupo hot poolsbefore merging with the Waikato River at Spa Park to create a wonderful free swimming hole. A great place to relax and soak in the open air, the Spa Park hot spot is frequented by both locals and visitors. Get changed at the toilets before you walk down to the park, as there are no facilities at the water's edge. Please respect the natural environment around you, keep the place clean and enjoy a soak in the thermal goodness!
Taupo Pak ‘n Save Pump Track and Dirt Jump Park - If you’re looking to practice your bike skills in a safe environment, race your mates or take the kids for an easy and fun place to ride their bikes, head out to the Taupo Pak ‘n Save Pump Track and Dirt Jump Park. These awesome facilities, situated in Spa Park, just off County Ave, are free for anyone to use at any time.
Arts and Crafts – There are several galleries open for viewing around the region. Pick up an Art and Crafts brochure from either the Taupo or Turangi i-SITE Visitor Centre, or take a stroll through town.
Huka Honey Hive – A mecca of all things bee related! Enjoy free tastings of honey, mead, liqueurs and fruit wines at New Zealand’s largest showcase of honey products. View live beehives, learn about the amazing honeybee and test a wide range of honey based skincare and wellness products. Open daily 9am-5pm, and situated off SH1 north in Wairakei Tourist Park, Lake Taupo.
The Taupo Market – The The Taupo Market is held every Saturday from 10am - 1pm at the Riverside Park on Redoubt Street. Head down to mingle with the locals and browse for fresh produce, NZ artand crafts, coffee and much more.
Art in the Park - Discover some Taupo artcreations, marvel at beautiful paintings or just feed the ducks. Art in the Park is a weekly market where local artists and craftspeople sell their own artwork. The market operates on Saturdays between 10am and 3pm (weather permitting) at Colonel Roberts Reserve on the Taupo lakefront.
Lookouts - There are a plenty of vantage points for sightseeing dotted all over Lake Taupo, Turangi and the surrounding areas. One worth mentioning is the Taupo Bungy platform where you can grab a coffee and watch people taking the 47 metre plunge into the Waikato River!
Walk around Great Lake Taupo – Take in the gorgeous scenery on one of our many Taupo walks around the region, see the famous Huka Falls, the Aratiatia Rapids or just wander along the lakefront and soak in the lakeside buzz.
Drive around Great Lake Taupo - Drive approximately 160km around gorgeous Lake Taupo via the Western Bays Highway and State Highway One. Take a picnic and stop at a few of the many beautiful swimming spots along the way.
Mind Junction - This interactive family fun park and café offers free entry with the option of paid activities. Open daily 10am - 4pm, Mind Junction is situated 10 mins north of Taupo on SH5 towards Rotorua.
Skateboarding – Head out to the skateboard park on the corner of Spa Road and Tauhara Road, Lake Taupo.
Walking, Hiking and Tramping - There are plenty of walks around Taupo ranging from an hour to several days. Pick up a local brochure or buy the Great Lake Taupo Guide to Walks and Hikes brochure from the Taupo i-Site for just a few dollars.
Mountain Biking & Cycling – The Taupo region is home to world-class mountain biking and cycling tracks and suited for all abilities. Ride the Huka Falls track and enjoy the scenery or if you’re looking for a few thrills head to Craters of the Moon. Pick up a mountain biking or cycling map from the Taupo i-SITE Visitor Centre for just a few bucks, or read up on the signposted mountain-biking trails out at Craters.
Botanical Reserve - Situated up in the suburbs, Waipahihi Botanical Reserve has spectacular views over Great Lake Taupō to the mountains of the Tongariro National Park. This 85-acre reserve was established in 1966 and is filled with native trees and plants alongside walking tracks; developed and beautifully maintained by dedicated volunteers. Gates are open daily until dusk, situated at the top of Shepherd Road.
Gardens – Plenty of gardens are available to view throughout the Taupo region, including the award winning Chelsea Garden located at the Taupo Museum on Story Place.
Opepe Reserve – If you like a bit of history the Opepe Reserve is worth a stop, located 17km from Lake Taupō on SH5 Napier/Taupō Road. This historic reserve was the scene of a massacre of nine soldiers from the Bay of Plenty Cavalry by Te Kooti's men in 1869. A short walk on the left of SH5 leads to the graves, and a track to the right leads through the site of the old Opepe settlement to the Armed Constabulary Post’s watering trough and an old saw pit.
Rose Gardens – Our Rose Gardens are home to over 500 rose bushes, adjacent to the Museum in Story Place, Lake Taupo.
Scented Gardens – A novel idea, these gardens are raised and filled with scented shrubs and herbs for the enjoyment of the visually impaired. Situated in the Tongariro North Domain, Lake Taupo.
Settler's Cemetery - A few of Taupo's early settlers are buried in this small cemetery at the lower end of Spa Road, Lake Taupo.
A unique taste experience with free honey, mead & liqueur tastings. View live beehives, discover health & wellness products and divine honey-based skincare. Treat yourself to a delicious honey ice-cream. Free Entry.
Discover the world of freshwater Trout. Come and learn about the freshwater habitat of Trout. Take your Kids Fishing. We have a Kids Pond that is great for catching a trout. Book now to avoid disappointment.
Discover our new Interactive hands on Science experience Discovery Centre, or enjoy our Tricky Golf, maybe you prefer to take the controls of our Flight Simulator, plus five other activities. Open rain or shine and suitable for all ages.
Take a short walk around our natural thermal area. See steaming hot mineral pools set in sinter basins, and spluttering mud pots amongst attractive native bush.
Soak your worries away at the natural geothermal hot springs of Otumuheke Stream in Taupo’s Spa Thermal Park. This beautiful natural hot spot on the banks of the Waikato River is popular with locals and visitors alike.
L’Arté Café and Gallery are both nestled in a large established garden filled with ceramic artist Judi Brennan’s work. The oversized, outdoor mosaic living room is a must see.