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The winter months in Taupo lend themselves perfectly to romantic getaways with that special person in your life. From sparkling lakes and turquoise rivers to steaming geothermal moonscapes and ancient volcanic terrain to explore, it’s not only the romantic scenery that will take your breath away, but an array of unique activities that you won’t find anywhere else in New Zealand.
Taupo town is just three and a half hours drive from Auckland, and an hour and fifteen minutes’ scenic drive from Whakapapa Ski Area, so it’s the ideal base for your next romantic weekend getaway. We have put together some ideas to help you create a memorable itinerary to share with your partner:
Experiencing New Zealand snow is an essential part of a classic Kiwi winter holiday, and exploring Whakapapa Ski Area is an experience that won’t be easily forgotten. The newly installed Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa Ski Area is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and is the largest in the country. While the architecture is impressive, it’s the panoramic coast-to-coast views of the entire cental plateau that will most certainly leave you speechless. The 1.8km Sky Waka will transport you from the top of the Bruce Base area to the architectually-designed Knoll Ridge Chalet.
For a fun New Zealand winter experience, drive from Taupo town or Turangi for a day of fun on the slopes, taking a ride in the Sky Waka and enjoy a bite at the Knoll Ridge Chalet. With floor-to-ceiling windows serving up an epic vista, this will surely make for a memorable experience with a glass of bubbles in hand.
The UNESCO dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park is a place of unimaginable beauty and a destination that should definitely be included in your Taupo itinerary. Tongariro National Park is home to some of our most stunning natural scenic attractions and a myriad of outdoor activities like walking, hiking, rafting, skiing, camping, stargazing and birdwatching.
One of the most phenomenal ways to truly appreciate the diversity of the volcanic landscape is from the air via private charter plane or helicopter. You will gaze down on such a varied range of highlights such as turquoise lakes, alpine desert terrain, native bush, magnificent mountains, ski fields, steaming volcanic activity and views that will stick with you for a lifetime. Sunrise in the air is a magical experience to share with your loved one, as the sun stretches its golden glow over the North Island’s most scenic region. There are various plane and helicopter operators that will take you on an unforgettable journey over Taupo; high above our townships, rivers, lakes, forest parks and around the peaks of the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Tongariro National Park – an experience not to be missed!
If you’re looking for a romantic sanctuary away from the city, Taupo is home to several award-winning boutique accommodators and beautiful bed and breakfasts, perfect for your next winter getaway. Stay in quaint waterside, forest or farm locations and experience delicious cuisine made using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and bespoke hosting by locals who know the area best – creating a unique experience to share with your partner. From here your hosts will shower you with Kiwi hospitality and advice on the best attractions and activities in region.
Whakaipo Lodge is a real gem, set amongst a country estate with farm animals and immaculate gardens, adjacent to the stunning Whakaipo Bay reserve, which offers fantastic winter walking and biking trials nestled around the shores of Lake Taupō. Winner of the Bed & Breakfast Associations, “Overall Supreme B&B Business of the Year 2020”, and 1st runner up 2019, Whakaipo Lodge serves up luxury secluded accommodation, great company with hosts Garth and Angie and gourmet food with NZ wine and local Taupo craft beers on hand.
Acacia Heights Gardens is a true place of tranquility, set amongst beautiful gardens on a secluded two acres of tranquil gardens with views across Lake Taupo and the rural surrounds. You can be sure to experience a relaxing winter retreat here. The B&B has recently been awarded the Bed & Breakfast Associations, “Emerging B&B Business of the Year 2019” and owners Heather and David take pride in providing a peaceful place to breathe and truly take in New Zealand.
Rive Gauche Lodge is another acclaimed bed and breakfast as winner of the Bed & Breakfast Associations, “Supreme B&B Host of the Year 2018”, set amongst vineyards on the banks of the stunning Waikato River. This romantic hideaway is centrally located in Taupo and is a fantastic place to base yourself to explore all that the region has on offer. This combined with the award-winning service from your hosts Lynn and Jim, you will surely experience a treasure.
For more romantic accommodation inspiration, check out the stunning Acacia Cliffs Lodge, River Birches, The Point Villas and Te Moenga Lodge.
If you’re planning a weekend getaway, you can’t go past a water-based activity on Lake Taupo or the beautiful Waikato and Tongariro Rivers – be it a rafting or kayaking experience. Take a jet boat ride or river cruise to the Huka Falls, or even sail a yacht to the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. The stunning scenery and the colours of the waters are a treat to the senses – turquoise green, aqua blue and so crystal clear that you can see the bottom!
The resident inhabitants of Taupo’s lakes and waterways, the trout, cannot be purchased to consume commercially in New Zealand, which means you won’t find it on the menu at any of the restaurants in town. So, if you want to try the local freshwater fish, you will need to catch one yourself! Try your hand at reeling in a shiny rainbow trout with a fishing charter or a scenic boat cruise on Lake Taupo. Your experienced fishing guide or charter captain will set you up with all the gear you need, provide your fishing license and share their best fishing spots around the region.
Once you have made a catch, call one of the divine local restaurants such as Vine Eatery, Bistro Lago, The Bistro, Plateau Bar & Eatery or The Brantry to make a booking and a time to drop the fish in –they’ll prepare it for your evening meal. A truly Taupo lake to plate experience.
Have a browse through our favourite accommodation options below...
Boutique luxury lodge with stunning lake and mountain views and a spectacular Lake Taupo location. Acacia Cliffs offers stylish accommodation, relaxed luxury and genuine New Zealand hospitality. Secluded just minutes from town and Lake Taupo.$650 - $750
Set right on the southern edge of Lake Taupo with 10 individual lakeside studios located in one of the most amazing spots on the lake. It’s the gateway to the Tongoriro National Park so the perfect place to ski, walk, tramp or adventure.$180 - $220
River Birches is the closest boutique five-star Luxury Lodge to the Tongariro Crossing. The Lodge is set within a peaceful garden-scape beside the renown Tongariro River.$693 - $1,500
Located in the centre of the North Island, The Point Villas is located in a private estate overlooking Lake Taupo. The perfect base from which to discover the delights of New Zealand, the beauty of New Zealand’s largest lake at your doorstep.$1,550 - $2,490
Qualmark 5 Star Gold Award 2022, TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2021-2015, Supreme Winner NZ B&B Excellence Awards 2020, 2018 & 2016. Stunning location, luxury accommodation & fab food & wine. An authentic boutique lodge experience near Lake Taupo.$495 - $595
Glamping holds a special place in most traveller’s hearts. For those who yearn for the romance of sleeping under starlit skies, bathing outdoors and really immersing themselves in the quiet of nature, glamping is the ultimate getaway.