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Turangi's Hidden Gems & Local Secrets
Turangi is, in itself a hidden gem, an untouched wonderland. On the doorstep of Tongariro National Park, the Tongariro River, Tokaanu thermal area and only five kilometres from the shores of Lake Taupo.
While people have been visiting Turangi for decades to fish the Tongariro River, there is more than one string to Turangi’s bow.
In recent years a number of fantastic Turangi restaurants have opened up or been reinvented and while they may seem like hidden gems for the locals, more and more national and international visitors are discovering their secrets. It is not just their locations – one is situated on the lakefront at Little Waihi, Tokaanu, another boasts stunning lake views over Pukawa, one sits nestled amongst a popular winery and two are at home on the banks of the mighty Tongariro River. It is the chefs, their award winning menus and food that are being described by critics as world class.
Chopping down the Pine trees on the Tongariro River track a few years ago revealed Turangi’s best hidden gems - stunning views of the river, Mount Pihanga and Lake Taupo. Developing the Tongariro River Trail loop means it is now easier than ever to get out and about, whether on foot or by bike.
Lake Rotopounamu, a two-hour loop walk, ten minutes from the town centre, would be the town’s most beautiful hidden gem; a great place to take time out with a picnic on the stunning long white sandy beach and an easy walk through a cool Beech forest.
Turangi mineral hot pools
Tokaanu, with its mineral pools, has always been considered a hidden gem by the locals, as has the white sandy beaches of Pukawa and Kuratau, 15 minutes drive from town, popular with boaties and for swimming and kayaking.
Turangi arts & craft
The Turangi town centre mall is also home to a couple of hidden gems. Alongside the dedicated shops in the mall who have kept the town alive for the past 30 years, there are two that stand out – and they are not technically retail shops.
One is the weaving school. It is open five days a week during term time and the talented weavers don’t mind people stopping by to watch them in action. Often their amazing works of art are displayed in the window and sometimes they are for sale. Many of the weavers now hold exhibitions and enter their creations successfully in nationwide competitions.
Also in the mall is the Pihanga Art Gallery. Pottery, paintings, jewellery and all sorts of arts and crafts are displayed; most are for sale and all made by local artists. They also hold regular exhibitions.
The Adventure Mini Golf, located near the Turangi New World is a hidden gem, with every hole being themed and relating back to the area – with the other art gallery, also worthy of a visit, conveniently located next door.
Turangi is definitely a town with hidden secrets and with so many of them avaiable to explore without spending a cent, it's certainly worth the visit.
For more ideas on things to do in Turangi, call into the Turangi i-SITE.