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Doughnuts helped launched our beloved Baked With Love café and the decadent treats are still a star attraction. Proprietor Kim Forsythe began selling her fried brioche creations – doughnuts crammed with roasted berries and lemon curd or salted caramel - from the boot of her car, at the local market.
These days, she and husband Scott operate a 330sqm 70-seat eatery renowned for its in-house cakery, luscious sweet and savoury counter fare, baked goods, fresh delicious meals prepared by the chefs, Laffare coffee and of course the best doughnuts in the country.
Also check out their legendary gluten free options (this includes doughnuts too).
Exploring Lake Taupō on board one of New Zealand’s only donut boats is just as enjoyable as its cream-filled namesake.
The quirky circular vessels come with bring-your-own music Bluetooth speaker systems and quiet, eco-friendly electric engines, with multi-coloured lights to increase the fun factor after dark. Up to six people can pile into one doughboat, or grab a crew and hire a fleet. Don’t forget to pack the doughnuts!
Artisan chocolatiers Paul and Sandi Jenson continue to scoop awards for their innovative sweet indulgences. Past medal winners include their ginger pineapple creation (silver) and a zingy, citrussy confection called calamansi.
The couple trained in Melbourne, Australia, before launching their Volcanic Chocolates business in Tūrangi. To sample Taupō’s favourite handcrafted chocolate, visit The Merchant or meet the makers at Taupō Market every Sunday. Otherwise, buy online here
There’s nothing like a great escape to whet the appetite and The Candy Factory-themed room at Confinement is the perfect accompaniment to a chocolate or three.
This adventure, where up to eight participants must solve clues to break out of a candy factory, promises “loads of colour and fun”. The adventure should take about 75 minutes; plenty of time to consider which flavour Volcanic Chocolate should be eaten first.
At weekends, grab the signature brioche French toast breakfast, from Creel Tackle House & Café, served with real maple syrup and bacon. This tiny café is tucked into the back of Tūrangi’s historic tackle shop, a stone’s throw from the famously beautiful, trout-laden Tongariro River. It is the perfect stop before or after a fishing expedition.
Be it a scenic lake cruise or a private guiding experience on one of the region’s world-class fly-fishing rivers, you’re in safe hands with the Chris Jolly Outdoors team.
The Jolly family has been fishing and exploring Taupō’s waterways for more than four decades, while the Ngāti Tūwharetoa whānau connection runs back through centuries. Together they promise unforgettable trout fishing experiences, though the outdoor adventure company offers hiking and biking adventures, too.
A woodfired signature ‘dooza’ pizza from Two Mile Bay Sailing Club is a Taupō institution. This is a pizza with the works – including ham chorizo, pepperoni, olives and blue cheese – that is ideally consumed at the waterfront eatery after a day on the water.
Look out for live music at weekends and plenty of outdoor seating options for a sunset drink. Grazing platters, toasties and filled bagels are also available through the day.
Don’t just look at the water, though. Take a scenic sailing tour or a private charter to the famous Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings or across Lake Taupō, to view waterfalls spilling into the more remote Western Bays. Take a trip on the large luxurious Kindred Spirit with enthusiastic operators Dave and Jess Nesbitt.
Biking, beer and burgers are natural bedfellows. After a day on the trails, locals in the know head straight to Jimmy Coops Lakehouse for a whopping classic burger that includes two smashed Angus beef patties and a double helping of bacon (with plenty of other goodies).
The establishment also serves Lakeman craft beer, brewed locally by Jimmy Cooper himself. Park bikes out front and take in the lake views.
Taupō mountain bike specialists FourB can sell or rent you a bike and also get you to and from the trailhead, with savvy tips and advice from local riders. They can guide you along the epic Great Lake Trails that collectively cover 71cm. They can even arrange lake taxi transport to more remote trailheads.
Adventurous eaters will want to fly past the more familiar nacho, pasta or steak dishes at this aviation-themed restaurant in Taupo and opt for the Picanha Skewer.
The tender Brazilian-style beef dish is served with chakalaka relish, polenta chips and a green salad. The eatery sits in Taupō’s newest entertainment hub, with mini golf, tenpin bowling, trampolining and virtual reality simulators on the doorstep.
Walking distance away, at Taupō Airport, find sky-high thrills with a scenic bonus and ogle Lake Taupō and Mount Ruapehu while leaping from a plane.
In clear weather conditions, the highest 18,500ft jump options allows parachutists to see both coasts, from Taranaki to the Bay of Plenty, and includes a 75-second freefall experience.
In a hurry? Redefine the meaning of fast food and grab a brie, chicken and avocado baguette (or, frankly, just about anything) from the laden cabinet. This French-leaning café, which is somewhat hidden behind a service station on the eastern side of town, also does perfect pastries and a wicked caramel brittle. Those with time to linger may want to order the salmon and eggs benedict.
While speed lovers of all abilities can tackle the go-kart track, serious contenders will want to get behind the wheel of an MX-5 race car at this internationally-renowned raceway.
Options include a vehicle obstacle course or a straight-out foot-to-the-floor race around the 3.5km track. Otherwise, come along to watch a live motor racing experience.