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Craters of the Moon, Wairakei
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Geothermal

Lying on a volcanic plateau above a vast underground lake of magma, Taupo is alive with astonishing geothermal activity. 

From steaming vents and bubbling mud lagoons, to rainbow-coloured silica terraces and rejuvenating hot springs and mineral pools, the ever-changing landscape can be both entrancing and formidable.

From the warm water crater lake atop Mt Ruapehu, to the steaming cliffs at Hipaua, and the thermal areas along the Thermal Explorer Highway - geothermal activity is obvious.

Throughout Taupo you’ll also spot steaming geothermal power stations generating sustainable energy by capturing the power of scalding water from deep underground.

Orakei Korako is a hillside wonderland of active geysers, steaming terraces, gemstone-coloured pools, and New Zealand’s only geothermal cave.

Orakei Korako is a hillside wonderland of active geysers, steaming terraces, gemstone-coloured pools, and New Zealand’s only geothermal cave.

Orakei Korako is a hidden gem around 30 minutes drive north of Taupo town. Its candy-coloured landscape is the closest you’ll come to seeing the legendary lost Pink and White Terraces, which were destroyed in an eruption in 1886.

Closer to Taupo town, Craters of the Moon is an otherworldly moonscape.

Closer to Taupo town, Craters of the Moon is an otherworldly moonscape.

At Craters of the Moon you can expect burping fumaroles, steamfields that constantly shift, collapse and regenerate, bubbling craters, colourful soils and heat-loving plants. It’s an easy, wheelchair and buggy friendly boardwalk trail.

There are few things more relaxing than spending an afternoon soaking away aches and pains in a mineral-rich thermal hot pool.

There are few things more relaxing than spending an afternoon soaking away aches and pains in a mineral-rich thermal hot pool.

There are numerous hot pools around Taupo town and Turangi. Several have health spas and water playgrounds for children on site.

If you’re on a budget, there’s free access to the natural Otumuheke Stream at Spa Thermal Park, and locals can even point you to spots around the lakefront where warm water bubbles up naturally.

Geothermal activities & attractions in Taupo

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  • Land Activities

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Taupo Kayaking Adventures

    Join us on one of NZ Great Walks Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Which is rich in cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery . 19.4 Kilometers allow approx 7-8 hours in Summer, 8-9 hours in Winter. Small groups up to 8 people.

    $350 - $475 Book now
  • Geothermal

    Tokaanu Thermal Walk

    See steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud pools on this short, easy walk.

  • Adventure Travel

    Wairakei Tourist Park

    Wairakei Tourist Park is riverside and rural, thermal and thoughtful with something for adrenaline junkies, quiet plodders and most things in between.

  • Walking & hiking

    Chris Jolly Outdoors - Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular tramping tracks, and is considered the most popular one-day alpine hikes in New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’ – a must do in this area.

  • Climbing

    Premium Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk From Taupo

    Our guides are personable, qualified and ready to guide you on one of New Zealand’s best 1-day walks. Adrift provides instruction, transport, equipment and gear hire. We guide every day and guarantee trip departures with wind, rain, snow and shine.

    $545 Book now
  • Climbing

    Adrift Tongariro, Taupo

    We guide on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and on the other Tongariro National Park hikes year round. Adrift provides professional guides and instruction, transport and equipment for a 2 hour duration guided walk right up to a 3 day multi-day tour.

    $195 - $255 Book now
  • Hot pools

    Otumuheke Stream

    Warm geothermal waters from Otumuheke Stream flow gently into the Waikato River at Spa Thermal Park, providing a hot spot where bathers can relax in healing mineral water.

  • Hot pools

    Tokaanu Thermal Pools

    Soak, soothe and relax in the magical mineral waters of Tokaanu Thermal Pools.

  • Hot pools & health spas

    Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs

    Unique thermal mineral hot pools with a thrilling dragon hydro slide & two amazing heated curved racing slides, children's interactive warm water playground, private pools and spa treatments.

    $11 - $23

Discover more highlights...

  • Scenic attractions

    Huka Falls

    At Huka Falls nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupts from a natural gorge and thunders 11m into the Waikato River below.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Waikato River

    Born on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, the longest river in New Zealand drains Lake Taupo through Taupo town, blasts through a narrow rock chasm to create the Huka Falls, then winds more peacefully northwards towards Port Waikato, south of Auckland.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Lake Taupo

    At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupo.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Pureora Forest Park

    The 78,000ha Pureora Forest Park is an ancient rainforest of giant native New Zealand trees, totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea, and rich with rare native bird life.

    More info 

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