27 April 2018 | Written by Jessie Riley

Great Lake Taupo: 4 Day Autumn / Winter Itinerary

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Located in the centre of the North Island, Taupo offers many fantastic activities to explore and enjoy. With so many things on offer from mountain biking to geothermal pools, a weekend here doesn’t have to only take place in the warmer months. A long weekend in the cooler months of the year also promises to be an amazing experience! We’ve pulled together some of our favourite activities to check out across 4 days. 

If you’ve never explored Taupo before, check out this video: #LoveTaupo road trip

Credit: Great Lake Taupo, NZ

Day 1: Brunch and Explore


Brunch is one of the best meals of the day. And what better way to enjoy it than with a beautiful view of the lake! We recommend checking out Dixie Browns for scrumptious eggs, or divine waffles. If it’s nice weather, breathe in the crisp fresh air at one of the tables outside, or cosy up inside next to the fire, while still soaking up views of the lake.


To complete your day, head off for a walk around Lake Taupo following The Great Lake Walkway (also known as Lions Walk). The 10km track begins at Taupo Harbour and ends at Five Mile Bay and is one of the most popular trails in Taupo. Complete the full track, or just stroll along a section. There are many places to stop along the way to have a picnic lunch.

Huka Falls

If you’re looking for a little more magic in your trip, drive out to the Huka Falls. Located in the Wairakei Tourist Park, a 5 minute drive from the centre of Taupo, these falls with their crystal blue water are simply breathtaking! Wander around the falls and drink in the sites. There’s plenty of walking tracks to explore ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Top Dinner Spot: The Lazy Trout Fish Shack and Cafe

100-102 Lake Terrace, Quality Inn

For a classic, fresh and well prepared meal with a gorgeous view The Lazy Trout is the place to go! Just a stones through from the Lake’s edge, enjoy fresh seafood while gazing out on the lake.

Day 2: Tongariro Crossing or Whakapapa Ski Field

Tongariro Crossing

Get ready for a little adventure! Rising a little earlier take a drive to the Ruapehu District to climb a mountain. The Tongariro Crossing is a world renowned, single day trek. Spanning 19.4km (about 7-8hrs walk) this trek crosses one of New Zealand’s most beautiful national parks. The stunning scenery which includes volcanic rock and the incredible Emerald Lakes never tires, and offers many photo opportunities. It’s recommended to do this hike with a shuttle service such as Tongariro Crossing Shuttles or Mountain Shuttle as the parking is limited to 4 hours. During Taupo in winter you can still do the crossing independently, but as the weather can change un-expectantly it is recommended to trek with a guide like Tongariro Expeditions over this time.



If sliding down the slopes is more your type of adventure head up Whakapapa. With skiing available from 2nd of June at Happy Valley this a great place to take the kids for a day at the snow. Gear can be organised right on the mountain, and for the ultimate learning time, book a session with one of Mt Ruapehu’s instructors. If you’d rather just relax and soak in the sites of Tongariro National Park and Ngauruhoe, head up to Knoll Ridge Cafe for a coffee in New Zealand’s highest cafe!

Top Dinner Spot: Rose On Roberts

92 Roberts St, Taupo

With the decor bringing a feeling of being transported back to to Tudor England, Rose on Roberts provides a menu of classic dishes with an innovative twist. There Rose also boasts one of the biggest selections of craft beer in Taupo.

Day 3: Mountain Biking or Fishing

Mountain Biking

Due to it’s free-draining pumice soil, the Lake Taupo area provides great conditions for riding even in the rainier months. With so many purpose built tracks, there’s something for every type of rider. If you’re looking for an easy ride that the whole family can enjoy, the Tongariro River Trail is the one for you. A 15km loop track on mostly flat terrain will take a couple of house to complete. If you’re a more advanced rider, Tree Trunk Gorge would be more your style, an hour south of Taupo Central. Or try one of the many tracks at Craters Mountain Bike Park located just 10 minutes north of Taupo. Visitor memberships are available here.

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Flying high above Kawakawa Bay on the Great Lake Trail – 71km of sweet single-track. Just a short hop or scenic boat ride from central Taupō, this Great Ride serves up an exhilarating mix of forest, wetland, beaches, waterfalls, and spine-tingling views of the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. Great photo by @maxidickerhoff_mtbnerd. . . . #nzcycletrail #ngahaerenga #greatlaketrail #greatlaketaupo #lovetaupo #biketaupo #laketaupo #docgovtnz #purenewzealand #nzmustdo #newzealand #nz #nature #realmiddleearth #mtb #mountainbike #mountainbiking #cycling #bikestagram #cyclinglife #fromwhereiride #biketouring #mtblife #ig_newzealand #kiwipics #destinationnz #gottalovenz #outsideisfree #bikeporn #pedalon

A post shared by Ngā Haerenga NZ Cycle Trail (@nzcycletrail) on


If you’ve got your heart set on catching a big trout, a day fishing might be more your style. With many great local businesses such as Chris Jolly Outdoors and Trout Catching providing half and full day tours, you can spend time with the experts and see all that Taupo has to offer. For those who would prefer to fish independently, there’s many spots to explore. You can find a few at this link here. Remember to purchase a fishing license!

Top Dinner Spot: @Siam Thai Street Food Cafe

22 Heuheu Street, Taupo

If you’re looking for some Thai cuisine @Siam is the place to go. With deliciously flavoured, fresh dishes, you’ll want to order everything on the menu.

Day 4: Wairakei Terraces Or Bungy

Wairakei Terraces

What better way to finish up your trip, than to soothe your muscles in the healing waters of Wairakei Terraces. These geo-thermal, mineral waters are situated below remarkable silica terraces and offer therapeutic benefits. With strategically situated pools of varying temperatures positioned under the silica terraces and waterfall, you can sit back and enjoy a good soak.


If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline to end your trip, try a bungy at Taupo Bungy. With options to just touch the water to full body immersion you’ll be sure to come away with a fantastic memory.


Top Dinner Spot: Pauly’s Diner

3 Paora Hapi St, Taupo

To end your trip we recommend a burger at Pauly’s Diner. Set up by two brothers, this popular, burger joint sells, shakes and the most delicious looking burgers! They regularly sell out, so make sure you check out their instagram for updates.

Upcoming Autumn / Winter Events in the Taupo Area for 2018:

28-29 April: The Extravaganza Fair

13 May: Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk

10 June: Craters Classic

11-15 July: Taupo Winter Festival

Featured Taupo holiday homes:

Bliss, Taupo Central

Bliss, Taupo Central Holiday Home

2+3 People | 2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | Pet Friendly (outdoor only) | Wifi | From $140 per night

Elevated to capture lake and mountain views, this private Taupo accommodation has decking and great indoor/outdoor flow for easy holiday living.

View the full listing for Bliss here.

Eiffel, Taupo Central

Eiffel, Taupo Central Holiday Home

5 People | 3 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | WiFi | From $310 per night

Positioned to capture stunning lake and mountain views. This separate and private holiday home is just a 1min stroll to the lake edge and the famous Lion Walk, and just a few minutes drive into the town centre.

View the full listing for Eiffel here.

Over to you…

Do you have some favourite activities in the Taupo area? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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