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If you’ve got the need for speed, then experiencing the ITM Taupō Super400 is going to be one epic ride. And while there’s going to be plenty of action on the track, we also know you’ll love spending some time out and about enjoying everything our beautiful little town has to offer.
In between races? Short on time before and after? Don’t worry! You don’t have to go far to find great places to eat, drink and have fun.
Huka Falls is one of Aotearoa's most photographed natural attractions, and it’s not hard to see why. When 20,000 litres of water is pushed over an 11-metre-high waterfall every second, it makes for a pretty spectacular (and loud) scene. The falls are free to check out from the various viewing platforms, but if you really want to get up close and personal - jump on board the Huka Falls Cruise or Hukafalls Jet. They both operate multiple times daily, so it’ll be easy to fit in and around the racing.
Taupō’s Floatplane is another incredible way to see everything this region has to offer. From a 10-minute ‘Taste of Taupō’ to a 20-minute ‘Peek at the Lake’, there’s also an hour trip that takes you over to the Central Plateau to see Mt Ruapehu from above. You might even be able to catch a couple of bird's-eye-view laps of the racetrack!
Getting out on Lake Taupō is another must-do when you’re in town. It’s hard to grasp the immense size of this caldera (which was formed by a supervolcanic eruption that occurred approx. 25,600 years ago) without heading out onto the water - especially since the main settlement of Taupō town is in just one small bay of the lake.
Hitch a ride on a sailboat with Sail Barbary or Taupō Sailing Adventures, cruise in style on a cat with Chris Jolly, or enjoy the boutique experience of a replica steamboat with Ernest Kemp. All these providers offer trips out to the giant and most spectacular, Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings, which tower 14 metres above the water.
If you’re keen for some local art and cultural experiences, you’re in luck. From the beautiful glass creations made on-site at Lava Glass to bee-inspired fun at Huka Honey Hive and locally-made garden art at L’Arte cafe and gallery, you can also stop in at Taupō Museum to check out their latest displays.
When you’re wandering around downtown Taupō, you might notice some of the amazing street art adorning the walls of buildings. This is thanks to our annual Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival and there’s actually more than 85 of them located around the place! Grab your Graffiato Walking Map online or from the Taupō Visitor Centre on Tongariro Street and see how many you can spot.
Watching all that racing can be hungry work and our array of cafes are always at the ready to feed rumbling stomachs. If you fancy a pint and pizza on the water, head down to the Two Mile Bay Sailing Club. For a yummy breakfast, brunch or lunch, The Cozy Corner, Victoria’s Cafe Kitchen Bar, Kefi, Replete and Baked with Love all offer delicious hot drinks and extensive menus.
After all the adrenaline from a day of racing, you might want to find somewhere quiet to unwind. Bring your togs and have a relaxing soak at Wairakei Terraces or Taupō Debretts Hot Springs. Both have natural hot mineral pools fed from underground geothermal springs.
Town will be extra busy, so for casual eateries to fine dining, make sure you book yourself a table at any one of our amazing restaurants - Dixie Browns, Plateau Bar & Eatery, Roquette Restaurant, Jolly Good Fellows, Vine Eatery & Bar, The Brantry or Embra.
Sticking around a bit longer? We don’t blame you! The Taupō region is a brilliant place to explore and it’s a fantastic time of the year to do so.
Down here, we think two wheels are better than four, and that’s because there are more than two hundred kilometres of bike trails that take you through untouched native bush, alongside turquoise waters and up towering mountain tops. In fact, the Taupō region has some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand, with internationally recognised, purpose-built trails to suit every type of bike rider - from grade 1-2 family and e-bike tracks, to cross-country trails, mountain bike parks and BMX jump parks to epic overnight adventures and grade 5 downhill.
So get on your bike and set your sights on a couple of day trips to one of the region's Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand, the Great Lake Trails. There’s plenty of places to hire bikes if you can’t bring one with you, and you can even take a guided tour if you’re keen to explore, but not sure where to start.
Enjoy golf? Then you’ll love spending a few extra days driving and putting your way around Taupō. While we don’t mean to brag, the region does boast nine highly reputable golf courses - two of which are consistently ranked in the top 100 courses outside of the US (and the top 10 marquee courses in New Zealand). And, of course, you’ll definitely have to try your luck at Lake Taupō’s famous ‘Hole In One Challenge’ at the lakefront.
Less than an hour south of Taupō you’ll find Tūrangi, the gateway to Tongariro National Park. It’s the home of some of the world’s best fly fishing, not to mention white water rafting, the Tongariro National Trout Centre and epic biking and walking trails. You could easily spend a couple of days exploring this region, and it truly is nature at its finest.
If you’re thinking about extending your stay, we highly recommend checking in to one of our glorious glamping or off-grid accommodation providers for at least a night or two. Think outdoor baths under starlit skies, roasting marshmallows over an open fire and waking to the sound of birdsong. From high-end to cosy and rustic chic, there’s plenty of options to suit everyone. But get in quick, they are very popular and do book out!
Getting out on the water for a trip around the harbour is one thing - but to really soak up the essence of Lake Taupō, a trip to the Western Bays is a must. Because this part of the lake is inaccessible by road, you’ll come across incredible bush hiking and biking trails and beautiful secluded bays - some of Taupō’s best ‘hidden’ gems. There are a number of providers who are more than happy to take you for a day trip or offer a drop-off and pick-up if you want to do some adventuring on your own.
Tongariro National Park is a place of unimaginable natural beauty and spiritual significance located in the heart of the central North Island. The awe-inspiring volcanic landscape is home to several short walking trails that are worthy of your exploration.