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How to get your adrenaline fix in winter

Don't let winter slow you down. Taupō is ready and waiting to get your heartbeat racing this winter with activities set to delight even the most extreme thrill seeker.

The ancient Taupō super eruption gifted this region with the largest crater lake in Australasia, amazing free draining pumice soils and dramatic mountainous landscape - perfect for adventure activities from the rivers to the sky and everywhere in-between. Let us help you plan your adrenaline-filled North Island, New Zealand road trip around the central plateau!

Ski at Whakapapa ski resort

Whakapapa Ski Area is one of New Zealand’s largest ski areas with over 65 trails to discover, over 550ha of lift-accessed and patrolled terrain ranging from beginner to extreme and is home to the country’s largest gondola; the new 1.8km Sky Waka. Discover snow filled basins, steep chutes and wide-open slopes.

There are also well over 24 black and double black diamond runs to satisfy the most extreme skiers and snowboarders, plus Whakapapa is home to New Zealand’s largest lift-accessed backcountry skiing area. Book a private or group lesson, or free-ride the upper mountain and enjoy the epic terrain that comes with skiing on an active volcano!

Whakapapa Ski Area on Mt Ruapehu is a scenic 1 hour 15-minute drive south of Taupō town, and an easy 40-minute drive from Tūrangi and situated within the stunning UNESCO dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park.

Mountain bike in Taupō during the cooler season

Taupō has some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand, with internationally recognised, purpose-built trails to suit every type of rider. Taupō’s free draining pumice soil means excellent conditions year-round, making the region a popular hub for all types of riding.

Explore trails like the Great Lake Trails (part of the Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trails network) which take you on a spectacular journey along the rim of Lake Taupō's ancient volcanic gorges. The 71km grade 3 (intermediate) fast, flowing single-track trails take you through beautiful native bush around the western bays of Lake Taupō. Made up of three sections linked by a water taxi, this is an epic two or three-day journey to complement your winter holiday.

Craters Mountain Bike Park in the Wairakei Forest is a bike park featuring over 50km of expertly built, flowing cross-country and downhill trails ranging from grade two to grade five. Ride to (and from) the park from Taupō town along the Rotary Ride which follows the course of the Waikato River to Huka Falls and on to the Aratiatia Dam.

Check out the ultimate guide to Craters MTB here 

Other must-dos include the award-winning Timber Trail in the ancient Pureora Forest Park and The Waikato River Trails near Mangakino, where you will find some epic suspension bridges to ride!

Hurl yourself out of a plane and jump off a ledge

Take in the incredible lake, mountain and coast-to-coast views from an impressive 18,500 feet with a tandem skydive. Winter is an awesome time of year for your skydiving experience with the majestic snowcapped mountains of the Tongariro National Park framing the backdrop of your jump.


New Zealand’s highest water touch bungy jump also calls Taupō home – located 47-metres above the crystal-clear waters of the mighty Waikato River at AJ Hackett Taupo Bungy. Here you can experience an adrenaline rush like never before.

Water activities

Water is our defining element here in Taupō, and there are so many ways to get out and about and enjoy it throughout winter.

If you are looking for something a little more adrenaline-heavy, join a white-water rafting trip on the Tongariro River in Tūrangi and experience the rapids of the region’s famous trout fishing river, yes you will get wet, but the action will keep you warm!

Taupō is also lucky to be home to two awesome jet boat operators, each providing a unique scenic experience on different parts of the Waikato River; with heated handrails to hold onto and splash jackets provided, there is no reason why you shouldn’t book a trip during your winter holiday.

From jet boating, white water rafting, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving and bungy jumping, there is an adventure waiting for everyone this winter.

There's a good reason Taupō is known for its adrenaline activities, so plan your winter road trip to the heart of the central North Island and experience winter in Taupō like nowhere else in the country!

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