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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.

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 Taupo

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

Voted New Zealand’s Favourite Urban Ride 2017, the Great Lake Pathway is a 10km paved trail that 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. 

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.

Sunrise at Tama Lakes, Tongariro National Park - Joel McDowell
Tama Lakes, Tongariro National Park

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 from 30 minutes to 4 hours beneath towering native trees. Find out more about Pureora Forest Park.

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. 

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 Historic Wharf dates from the early 1800s. It is a popular picnic and fishing spot.

13. Tokaanu Thermal Walk

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

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. 

15. Market Central Taupo

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

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.

Graffiato: Taupo Stree Art / Artist: Cracked Ink

17. Opepe Scenic & Historic 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 Scenic & Historic Reserve.

18. Take 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.

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.

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