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21 free things to do in Taupo

If you are looking for free, fun activities then Taupo 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 Taupo
Take a swim in the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. The water in Lake Taupo is crystal-clear to a depth of 13 metres. Find out more about Lake Taupo.

2. Visit Huka Falls
View 220,000 litres of water per second hurtling through a narrow chasm over the stunning Huka Falls. Find out more about Huka Falls.

Huka Falls in Taupō

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. Find out more about Aratiatia Rapids.

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

The scenic drive from Taupō to Turangi along Lake Taupō

5. Walk or bike the Great Lake Walkway
Voted New Zealand’s Favourite Urban Ride 2017, this 10km paved trail takes you from Taupo Harbour to Five Mile Bay. It's an easy grade 1 bike ride or flat walk suitable for buggys and wheelchairs. Find out more about the Great Lake Walkway.

6. Get on your bike
There are plenty of fantastic mountain bike trails throughout the region for all abilities, including the famous Great Lake Trail and the Tongariro River Trail. Find out more about cycling and mountain biking in Taupo.

Mountain bike trials in Taupō

7. Explore Tongariro National Park
Explore short walking trails within the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park and experience the stunning volcanic alpine landscape. Find out more about Tongariro National Park.

8. Discover Pureora Forest Park
Explore numerous walking and cycling trails from 30 minutes to 4 hours beneath towering native trees. Find out more about Pureora Forest Park.

Waihora Lagoon in Pureora Forest

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 free riverside trails. A highlight is crossing the 70 metre suspension bridge over the Mangakino Stream. Find out more about the Waikato River Trails.

Waikato River Trails

11. Climb Mount Tauhara
This 2.5km trail climbs to the summit at 1,088 metres, offering panoramic views over Lake Taupo and the central North Island. Find out more about hiking Mount Tauhara. 

12. Tokaanu Historic Wharf
One of the oldest structures of its kind in New Zealand, the Tokaanu Wharf dates from the early 1800s. It is a popular picnic and fishing spot. Find out more about Tokaanu Wharf. 

Historic Tokaanu Wharf

13. Tokaanu Thermal Walk
See steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud pools on this short, easy walk. The walk is located next to the Tokaanu Thermal Pools where you can enjoy a a hot soak for a few dollars. Find out more about Tokaanu Thermal Walk.

14. Huka Trails
Enjoy the walking tracks alongside the Waikato River and wander around the different viewing platforms, taking in the falls from all angles. Find out more about the Huka Trails.

Quirky local crafts and food at The Taupō Market

15. The Taupo Market
Browse fresh produce, scrumptious food, art and crafts, and more at this Saturday morning market in Taupo town centre. Find out more about The Taupo Market.

16. Graffiato: Taupo Street Art
Grab a copy of the Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival Walking Map and discover a vibrant collection of large scale public artworks. Find out more about Graffiato Taupo Street Art.

Over 80 art works are dotted around Taupō's streets

17. Opepe Reserve
Just a short drive from Taupo, explore native bush and discover local history in this scenic and historic reserve. Find out more about Opepe Reserve.

18. Get a selfie at #LOVETAUPO
The stunning backdrop of Lake Taupo and snow-capped mountains makes the giant #LOVETAUPO sign the perfect photo opportunity. Find out more about #LOVETAUPO.

The #LOVETAUPO lettering is a must do

19. Huka Honey Hive
Learn about and view bees, taste honey, mead and ice cream or try one of the many skincare products on offer. Find out more about Huka Honey Hive.

20. Boutique shopping
Explore designer boutiques, specialty shops, outdoor stores, fashion accessories, jewellery and more in Taupo towncentre. Find out more about the shopping in Taupo.

21. Children's play areas
The Taupo region has several excellent children's play areas and recreational reserves dotted throughout the suburbs and along the lake edge.

  • Must do's in Taupo

    Snow capped mountains, crystal clear waters, raging rapids, thermal hot springs and lush greenery are just some of the incredible natural features on offer in Taupo. To help you plan your trip, here's a list of the best Taupo attractions and activities.

    More info 
  • Multi day trip

    7 days of family fun in Taupo

    Taupo has long been a favourite family holiday spot where kids can get out into nature and go adventuring, just like kids are made to do. Our family itinerary highlights the best of our fun activities to suit every age and stage in the family.

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  • Article

    Rainy day activities in Taupo

    Rainy day? No problem! There are plenty of things to do indoors in Taupo, or cover up in waterproof gear and experience the great outdoors anyway. After all there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing, right?

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  • Article

    The insider’s guide to food and wine in Taupo

    While Taupo might be a bit smaller than a city, there’s no fear of missing out when it comes to world-class food and wine.

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