10 Best Things To Do In Taupo
Are you ready to fall in love with Taupo? A place full of spectacular natural wonders such as ancient forests, smoky geothermal zones and dormant volcanoes! Along with family friendly activities, unique shopping experiences and a small-town feel, we’re sure it won’t take long before your heart starts to skip a beat! To help you plan your next holiday, we’ve put together a list of our 10 best things to do in Taupo. For where to stay in Lake Taupo, take a look here!
See our top 10 must do’s on your trip to Taupo…
1. Explore Lake Taupo
Made in the aftermath of the eruption of the Taupo Volcano (which was apparently seen all the way in Europe!), it is an absolute must to explore the largest lake in New Zealand. The more adventurous option is to kayak to the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay and be mesmerised by the sparkling waters beneath you. Or, opt for the more comfortable scenic lake cruise, with multiple operators to choose from.
2. Choose your adrenaline adventure
Taupo is just as much for relaxing as it is for adventure! Get your dose of adrenaline through some epic experiences that are unparalleled anywhere else in New Zealand. For the only jetboat experience on white-water in New Zealand, enjoy 360 spins along the river on your way to get splashed by Huka Falls. There’s also New Zealand’s highest water touch bungy jump from 47 metres above the Waikoto River and a tandem skydive with the options of plunging from the plane at 9,000ft or 18,500ft. Whatever you choose, prepare to scream and have an epic time.
3. Have a lunar experience at the Craters of the Moon
Wondering what to see in Taupo? Well look no further than this crazy lunar landscape known at the Craters of the Moon! This geothermal area only sprang up in the 1950s after a nearby power station lowered underground water levels. The area is now booming with steam vents and bubbling craters, which can best be enjoyed from the well-formed paths in a 45-minute walk around the area.
1. Favourite family activities in Taupo?
Hole in one, Put Put, Huka Jets and the Prawn farm.
2. Best park or beach?
Spa Park and the all areas of Lake Taupo are beautiful!
3. What to do if it’s raining as a family?
Debretts Hot Pools, AC Baths or see a movie at Starlight Cinema.
4. Best family-friendly cafe or restaurant?
Dixie Browns cafe, Cafe Baku, Cobb n Co and Mole n Chicken.
5. Any other advice for families planning a trip?
Other awesome things to do inlcude the Formula Challenge, Kinloch Marina, Wairakei Thermal Resort, Skydiving and the Floatplane.
4. Get buzzing at the Huka Honey Hive
With free entry and open every day of the week, there’s no excuse not to take a visit to the Huka Honey Hive. They offer visitors unique honey, mead and liqueur tastings, along with educational talks about the health benefits of active manuka honey and bee pollen. You’ll also get to see live bee hives in action and browse their selection of honey-based skincare products. Top off the visit by treating the family to honey ice cream – sure to get the kids buzzing!
5. Hike to neon coloured crater lakes on the Tongariro Crossing
Fall in love with the freedom of crossing one of the best rated day-walks in New Zealand. On the 19 kilometre Tongariro Crossing, you’ll go through volcanic alpine landscape, get to admire the other-worldly wonders of steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flow and panoramic views. But the most spectacular reward on this walk is getting to check out the neon coloured Blue and Emerald Lakes. It’s no surprise the Tongariro Crossing has been dubbed a UNESCO Dual Heritage Park for both the spiritual importance and its natural phenomenon.
6. Enjoy a winter wonderland at Mt Ruapehu
Offering the longest ski season in Australasia from approximately June to October, Mt Ruapehu is also New Zealand’s largest commercial ski field. They have over 65 trails for all skill sets, the highest café in the country to enjoy a warm cuppa and a brand-new feature known as the Sky Waka Gondola, which takes riders above ancient lava flow and waterfalls. Best of all, getting to Mt Ruapehu is easy as, with shuttles going direct from Taupo to the base of the ski field. Check out our wide range of Mt Ruapehu Accommodation by clicking here!
7. Family friendly bike trails
Wondering what to do in Taupo with the kids? How about an afternoon on a bike! Cycle around the beautiful scenery with the family and enjoy multiple scenic spots for a picnic. The Tongariro River Trail offers a 14km loop track perfect for families to ride through farmland, beech forests and fern glades. If your family has the need for speed, enjoy a day out zooming down the Craters Mountain Bike Park, which is five minutes from town and has trails for both children and technical cross country riders. And if you’re worried about your little toddler who still has training wheels, opt for the Great Lane Walkway along the Taupo lakefront for the ultimate urban ride.
8. Spa Thermal Park
Powered by geothermal waters from Otumuheke Stream and Waikato River, the Spa Thermal Park welcomes bathers of any age to enjoy the healing mineral water. They’ve recently undergone massive upgrades to the historical bathing site and offer a two-hour walking path around the park to explore the banks of the Waikato River and surrounding bush.
9. Enjoy stress-free shopping
Make the most of the small town feel in Taupo with their pedestrian friendly town full of local boutique shops! Known mostly for boutique homeware shops such as Jak&Co and Replete Café & Store, they are also well stocked with outdoor and sporting goods stores to make sure you and your family can fully enjoy your outdoor adventures.
10. Taste the local craft beer movement
Home to several craft beer breweries, Taupo offers the perfect natural recourses of having a high altitude, cool climate and alpine volcanic water to make their beer and cider unique. Crafty TROUT Brewery would be our top pick, as you can check out the world’s first fully automated brewing system on their tasting tour. They also have the Bier Kafe, which is an Austrian Alpine themed bar that serves seven craft beers on tap matched perfectly with freshly-baked pretzels and wood-fired pizza.
9 Things To Do In Taupo In Winter
Even rainy days in Taupo are full of things to do. View geothermic attractions, wander around a museum, try a craft beer, or go whitewater rafting. Even if it rains every day during your visit, you can still experience the best of the area and have a relaxing holiday.
1. Lava Glass
For a unique way to spend a rainy morning or afternoon, head to Lava Glass’s Glassblowing Studio. You’ll get to watch the artists at work while they create unique glass-blown artworks.
The furnace is never turned off and stays at 1,060 Celsius all year. The artist might use some clear glass to start the process, then blows the glass, sculpts it, and adds color.
Visitors can also admire glass sculptures in the Sculpture Garden and enjoy a coffee in the café.
The Edge Indoor Rock Wall is a fun way to spend a rainy day. The wall is 12 meters high, and different parts of the wall cater to different skill levels. There’s a bouldering section for new climbers who want the experience without climbing the wall. Instructors are always available to give advice or offer assistance. Enjoy a new challenge and increase your climbing confidence.
This indoor activity park offers fun for the whole family. It might take a team to figure out the two-meter-high giant maze. Challenge your family to a competitive game of nine-hole mini-golf. The LEGO display gives you the chance to show off your creative power while you craft the perfect LEGO scene.
Test out the shooting simulator to find out who the best marksman in your group is. Then, battle it out in the flight simulator to test your expert piloting skills. The hands-on Science Experience and Discovery Centre are worth exploring.
Have a coffee break to warm up from the rain and plan the next challenge at Mind Junction.
Tongariro River Rafting offers two ways to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting in Taupo. Guests over 10-years-old can experience roller-coaster rapids with an expert guide at the helm. Running whitewater on the Tongariro River is sure to be a highlight of your trip. And since you’ll be soaked through regardless, there’s no reason to let a little rain stop your adventure. While the starting place is about 40 minutes outside of Taupo, the rafting company will pick you up in Taupo if needed.
Kids as young as three years old can take part in Family Rafting on the Tongariro River. This adventure will allow the whole family to enjoy rafting gentle currents and the excitement of small rapids. As you float downstream, keep an eye out for wildlife, especially the endangered Whio blue duck.
5. Taupo Museum
Taupo Museum hosts a gorgeous indoor space where visitors can browse their galleries and experience the art, culture, and history of the Taupo area.
The Kiwana Caravan is sure to delight. This old travel caravan features memorabilia from the 1950s and 1960s. Travel back to the simple holidays of the past and be inspired to capture that holiday spirit.
The exquisitely crafted meeting house, Te Aroha o Rongoheikume (for the love of Lucy Reid), stands in the museum. It was carved in the 1920s by Tene Waitere for his niece and later gifted to the people of Taupo.
Visitors will enjoy the Taupo’s Volcanic Secrets display. Learn about the volcanic activity that has shaped the region.
The museum also displays a unique carved artwork, Ruaumoko – God of Geothermal.
If there’s a break in the rain, don’t miss the stunning Ora Garden. This garden won a Chelsea Flower Show gold medal and is a remarkable example of a New Zealand garden.
6. Day Spa Experience
Treating yourself to a spa day is one great way to refresh your soul on a rainy day. Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort offers massages, hot springs soaks, facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, and body treatments.
Before your massage or treatment, enjoy a soak in the hot mineral waters. Time spent at this luxurious spa is an investment in your well-being, and you’ll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
At Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa, restore your mind, body, and soul. The outdoor thermal pools are delightful, even in the rain. The spa offers relaxing massages and wonderful facials in a peaceful setting.
As already mentioned above the Huka Falls River Cruise operates in all weather. This protected area is always calm, so you’ll enjoy smooth sailing, even in the rain. The boat offers a completely enclosed seating area in addition to a large deck and front viewing platform. You can experience the falls from the dry interior or brave the outside options.
As you cruise through the beautiful clear water, you’ll see birdlife, natural hot streams, and gorgeous natural riverfront views. You’ll get up close to the stunning Huka Falls. The scenery is fantastic, and this a family-friendly way to get out and enjoy the day despite the weather. Bring your camera!
8. AC Baths
The AC Baths is a wonderful pool complex. The pools are naturally heated with geothermic water. The heat will keep you warm and energized, even in the rain. AC Baths features two toddler areas, an indoor pool for lessons, and two 25-meter lane pools. One of the 25-meter pools is indoors; the second pool is outdoors. To add to the fun, try a hydro slide or Tarzan swing. Adults are welcome to relax and warm up in the saunas. There’s a café on site for warming treats.
9. Experience Geothermal Walks
Grab your rain jacket and explore Taupo’s fabulous geothermic attractions.
At Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley, you can explore natural geothermic features such as mud pools, the champagne cauldron, and silica formations. You’ll see rare plant life as birds fly overhead. There’s also a small animal park on-site with rabbits, goats, chickens, llamas, and peacocks.
Warm up with a traditional Devonshire Tea, complete with home-crafted goodies and hot tea.