Don't wait for a weekend! Cheeky midweeky deals >
In fact, there’s so much to see and do that you may feel a tad overwhelmed deciding on the right way to maximise your time in town. So, depending on what you’re in the Taupō region for and what you like to do when you’re on holiday, here are a few ideas to get you started!
Who needs the bright lights of the big city when you can get your arts and culture fix right here? Your first stop should be the Taupō Museum, where you can step inside a replica Wharenui (meeting house), see a Moa skeleton and learn all about the natural history of this extremely active geothermal region.
A wander around the streets and alleyways of the township is also a must to check out all the amazing street art on display from the annual Graffiato festival. Some of these artworks are two storeys high, and well worth getting up close to for some epic photos (perfect for the ‘gram).
A 10-minute drive from town will take you to Lava Glass, where you can grab some lunch at the on-site cafe (the buttermilk pancakes are delicious!). And after you’ve had a bite to eat, marvel at the talent of those in the glassblowing studio and explore the beautiful glass sculpture garden.
A boat trip to the Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings is highly recommended. Hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Māori artworks, the carvings tower 14 metres above the lake - and photos don’t do it justice. You have to visit it to appreciate its grand scale. There are a number of tour operators that do day trips out there, where you’ll get the chance to hear all about how this magnificent artwork came to be.
You’ve come to the right place if you're looking for adventure. The Taupō region is jam-packed-full of activities that are guaranteed to get your pulse racing!
You could hop into the back (or front) of a boat to go white water rafting. Tongariro River Rafting in Tūrangi is the top choice for this activity and with more than 1,200 five-star reviews on Tripadvisor, you’re guaranteed to have the best time!
Next up how about jumping out of a plane (with a parachute attached of course) from 16,500ft, where you’ll experience 70 seconds of freefall? It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s certainly a thrilling experience.
Then it’s probably time to call it a day, because who wouldn’t need a rest after all of that! You also don’t want to miss your alarm the next morning for your ride on the Hukafalls Jet. At full speed, you’ll get as close as possible to the base of the mighty Huka Falls. It’s exhilarating and takes you through some absolutely incredible scenery.
Then did someone say throw yourself off a cliff-top? Why not! It’s the only place you can experience such a unique bungy in New Zealand. The cantilevered platform takes you out over the Waikato River, where with toes over the edge, you can choose whether to get dunked in the refreshing, crystal-clear water or stay dry.
But if jumping isn’t your thing, what about a swing? You can do it solo, or with a friend - but however you do it, you’ll love it.
If you’re looking to eat and drink your way through 48 hours in Taupō, then you’re in luck.
To start your day off right, you can’t go past Baked with Love and their cabinet of food heaven. Whether you like savoury or sweet, it’s all on offer here. But be warned, you’ll want it all.
For lunch, you might like to head out to 2 Mile Bay Sailing Club for one of the tastiest woodfired pizzas around. You could even pull up a seat and watch your pizza go in fresh and come out hot from their ovens. Order up!
If you still have room for dinner, you’ll find some of the best homemade burgers around town (Rosemary’s, Pauly's Diner and Waterside). But if you’re after exceptional fine dining, book yourself a table at The Brantry or Embra.
We also have some fantastic beer crafted right here in Taupō, and if you’re keen for a brewery tour, head to the Crafty Trout, or Beehave! Craft Meadery. Jimmy Coops Lakehouse along the lakefront also has Lakeman Brewing Beers on tap, or you can enjoy a tasting paddle to try them all.
On your way out of town, make sure you stop at Huka Prawn Park and dine riverside on a plate of prawns!
What Taupō lacks in skyscrapers and traffic, we make up for in nature. So if you love exploring the great outdoors, there’s so much to do while you’re in town!
A riverside or lakeside bush walk is a must, and if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could always do both! Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls Walk is a popular trail, and it’s not hard to see why. With the water rushing by on one side and picturesque native bush on the other, you’ll definitely earn your lunch.
Waipahihi Botanical Gardens is another beautiful place to spend a morning or afternoon, and you could even pack a picnic lunch.
No trip to Lake Taupō is complete without getting out on the water, and we reckon hiring a kayak is a great way to explore all the hidden bays around the lake’s edge.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out some of the geothermal activity that this region is renowned for - a walk around Craters of the Moon feels like you’re on another planet, and Orakei Korako Geothermal Park showcases nature in all its glory.
What’s a holiday without a little downtime, if a slower pace is what you’re seeking, then rest assured, you’re welcome to ‘do nothing’ while you’re here.
Did someone say hot pools? If so, there’s plenty to choose from. Wairakei Thermal Pools is an absolute paradise surrounded by native bush and with a range of pool temperatures, you’re sure to find one to soak away the hours in (don’t forget to take a water bottle with you to rehydrate).
After a hot soak, up the Waikato River on the Huka Falls River Cruise. Come with complimentary hot beverages so you can simply sit back, sip on your drink and soak up the views.
If you like your morning coffee fresh and delicious, grab one from The Steaming Bean along the lakefront, then meander down to Hot Water Beach, where you can dip your feet into the natural hot springs that come out at the lake’s edge. It’s bliss.
After a leisurely lunch along the lakefront, hop aboard a cruise that can take you out on the lake (Ernest Kemp is a replica steamship and is just delightful)!
Got kids? Great! We’ve got plenty to keep them entertained, and the good news is, you’ll enjoy it too. First up is the Tongariro National Trout Centre in Tūrangi where you can visit a native aquarium, fly fishing museum and rainbow trout hatchery.
You’ll also want to spend at least a morning or afternoon at The Landing. From Swingers Putt Putt to virtual reality at The Cave Taupō, bowling and an indoor trampoline park and playground at the Dropzone, it’s the perfect place to let the kids go a bit crazy - and certainly, an opportunity for you to have a bit of fun as well!
There are a number of bike hire places, and the Great Lake Pathway is an ideal trail for the whole family. Here you can take in the sights from two wheels and stop along the way for a play on a playground, a splash in the lake and to have a snack or ten (because kids).
If everyone’s bee-having, treat them to a visit to Huka Honey Hive, where you can learn about the importance of bees and taste their delicious honey.
And there’s nothing like a swim to end a busy day, so head to Taupō DeBretts where you can soak away any aches and pains while the kids have a blast on the hydroslides and warm water playground.
Discover the Taupō region's culinary accommodations - where gourmet picnics, degustation dinners, and the chance to have your freshly caught trout prepared by a top chef await. Experience unmatched comfort and style at bed and breakfasts, hotels, villas, or luxurious lodges.