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21 free things to do in the Taupō region

If you are looking for free, fun activities, the Taupō region is the place for you. There are heaps of free experiences to enjoy, from honey tasting to discovering street art in hidden lane-ways to hikes in stunning landscapes. 

1. Swim in Lake Taupō

Take a swim in the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. The water in Lake Taupō is crystal-clear to a depth of 13 metres.

2. Visit Huka Falls

View 220,000 litres of water per second hurtling through a narrow chasm over the stunning Huka Falls.

3. View Aratiatia Rapids

Aratiatia Rapids is one of the most popular natural attractions in the North Island. Thousands of litres of water are released from the Aratiatia Dam, creating a spectacular flow of water through a narrow gorge. Watch the gates open and water release daily. 

4. Drive around Lake Taupō

Drive 160kms around spectacular Lake Taupo via the Western Bays and SH1. There are beautiful picnic and swimming spots along the way.

5. Walk or bike the Great Lake Pathway

Explore Aotearo's Most Beautiful Town via the Great Lake Pathway, a 10km paved trail from Taupō Harbour to Five Mile Bay. It's an easy grade 1 bike ride or flat walk suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. 

6. Get on your bike

There are plenty of fantastic mountain bike trails throughout the region for all abilities, including the famous Great Lake Trails and the Tongariro River Trail.

7. Explore Tongariro National Park

Explore short walking trails within the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park and experience the stunning volcanic alpine landscape.

8. Discover Pureora Forest Park

Explore numerous walking and cycling trails in Pureora Forest Park from 30 minutes to 4 hours beneath towering native trees.

9. Free hot pool in Spa Thermal Park

Soak in natural hot springs at Otumuheke Stream or walk alongside the beautiful Waikato River towards Huka Falls.

10. Waikato River Trails

Walkers and mountain bikers can explore a series of accessible riverside trails. A highlight is crossing the 70-metre suspension bridge over the Mangakino Stream. 

11. Climb Mount Tauhara

This 2.5km trail on Mount Tauhara climbs to the summit at 1,088 metres, offering panoramic views over Lake Taupō and the central North Island. 

12. Tokaanu Thermal Walk

This short, easy walk takes you past steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud pools. The Tokaanu Thermal Walk is next to the Tokaanu Thermal Pools, where you can enjoy a hot soak for a few dollars. 

13. Huka Trails

Enjoy the walking tracks alongside the Waikato River and wander around the different viewing platforms, taking in the falls from all angles. 

14. Market Central Taupō

Browse fresh produce, scrumptious food, art and crafts, and more at this Sunday morning market in Taupō town centre. 

15. Graffiato: Taupō Street Art

Grab a copy of the Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival Walking Map and discover a vibrant collection of large-scale public artworks. 

16. Opepe Scenic & Historic Reserve

Just a short drive from Taupō, explore the native bush and discover local history in at the Opepe Scenic & Historic Reserve. 

17. Take a selfie at #LOVETAUPŌ

The stunning backdrop of Lake Taupō and snow-capped mountains makes the giant #LOVETAUPO sign the perfect photo opportunity. 

18. Huka Honey Hive

Learn about and view bees, taste honey, mead and ice cream or try one of the many skincare products at Huka Honey Hive

19. Boutique shopping

Explore shopping that rivals big cities from designer boutiques, specialty shops, outdoor stores, fashion accessories, jewellery and more in Taupō town centre. 

20. Tongariro Domain Playground

Have a fun day playing while learning the rich history of the Taupō region at the Tongariro Domain Playground

21. Kaimanawa Forest Park 

Discover some of the most beautiful summits and hiking trails in Kaimanawa Forest Park, just a short drive from Tūrangi.


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