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Start your journey with breakfast at Lava Glass Cafe and Art Gallery. Enjoy a mesmerising performance from the glassblowers in action or take a stroll through the famous sculpture garden filled with vibrant flowers and rainbows. Shop for exquisite one-off hand-blown glass art inspired by the region's dramatic and colourful landscapes.
From the Falls, it's a short 10-minute drive to the Taupo Museum and Art Gallery. Discover more about the heritage of local iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa, as well as viewing a mighty 15-metre waka crafted from a single totara log. Learn how the powerful Oruanui super-eruption created the largest lake in the Southern Hemisphere. The Museum also hosts changing exhibitions and is home to the award-winning Ora Garden of Wellbeing, a Garden of National Significance.
The museum is a short stroll into Taupo town where you will discover two excellent art galleries - Zea You Gallery and Kura Gallery, both displaying contemporary New Zealand art, jewellery and sculpture.
Pick up a coffee from one of the many great cafes, wander off the main streets into the hidden laneways and discover the rich collection of murals created at the annual Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival. Graffiato's ever-expanding portfolio of over 80 murals includes works from some of New Zealand's most influential street artists bringing transformation, wonder and vibrancy to the town's urban laneways. It's well worth getting off the beaten track to discover!
Acacia Bay is your next stop. For a coffee fix or lunch break take a stop at the highly recommended L’Arte Cafe and Gallery. The unique mosaic wonderland created by mum and daughter duo: Jo and Judi, will leave you feeling truly inspired by their talent and ingenuity.
Your new favourite coffee mug is waiting for you at the remarkable Tukairangi Gallery. Also known as Ross Palmer Pottery, this creative gallery shows off a vast range of pottery and ceramic masterpieces.
Carry on to Kinloch and visit 3 Art Gallery. This eco-friendly gallery makes stunning pieces from scrap wood and sand to uphold their outlook of natural, sustainable, and recycled art. Marvel at exclusive art pieces or get involved with their pre-scheduled art classes.
As you head around the western bays of Lake Taupo make sure you stop off for a quick 15-minute walk to Waihora Lagoon at Pureora Forest Park. This rain-fed lake is an easy, flat track that weaves through native trees and bush. Drive a little further and you’ll reach Tokaanu where you can visit the picturesque Historical Wharf or watch the steam rise from bubbling mud on the Tokaanu Thermal Walk.
Lakeland House is the perfect place to relax lakeside with a glass of wine and delicious platter, or for the hungry, Rust Gourmet Burger Bar in Turangi is a local favourite for hearty burgers in a casual atmosphere.
When in Turangi, Pihanga Art Gallery gives you a taste of it all. From alluring fibre art to cultural harakeke flax art, Pihanga Gallery earns its tourist title as one of the best art galleries of a small town.
Carry on around to Waitahanui and visit Wildwood Gallery, home to husband and wife team: Robbie and Sue. Robbie’s expertise lie in woodturning and sculpture making, where as Sue is all things paint. This collaborative gallery shows off pieces from other local artists and is not to be missed!
Feeling hungry? Enjoy a lakeside pizza and craft beer at the Two Mile Bay Sailing Club or one of the many fantastic restaurants in Taupo town, or pick up fish and chips for a lakeside picnic as the sun sets.
If you need some inspiration for a unique gift for that special someone, the perfect Secret Santa gift for your colleague, or cute stocking stuffers for the kids - look no further than Taupo.