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Taupo summer must do's

Explore the beauty of the Taupo region these summer holidays and see how many activities you can tick off!

Tongariro National Park

1. Ride the impressive Sky Waka gondola to the Knoll Ridge Chalet for lunch and take in one of the scenic short walks.

2. Pack up a picnic and head to Lake Rotopounamu. Circumnavigate the lake and enjoy a swim in the emerald-coloured waters and a picnic on the white sand beach.

3. Discover impressive waterfalls, alpine vegetation and breath-taking views from any of the Whakapapa Village short walks – perfect for the whole family.

4. If you want to avoid the crowds, the Tama Lakes hike is an excellent alternative to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Southern Bays

5. Stay in a Kombi cabin at the Motuoapa Holiday Park and spot boaties coming in and out of the impressive marina.

6. Kayak the Kuratau River into birdsong-filled bush, play tennis at the village court, and top off the day with a wine in the sun at the local winery.

7. Enjoy a long lunch at Lakeland House, perched on the southern shores of Lake Taupo.

8. Discover bubbling mud on the family-friendly Tokaanu Thermal Walk followed by a rejuvenating soak at the adjacent thermal pools.

9. Hear the melodious chimes of native birds along the many short walks between the lakeside settlements of Kuratau, Omori and Pukawa.

10. Stop at the Tokaanu Historic Wharf for a picture-perfect photo, where black swans, mallards, paradise shelducks, fernbirds, spotless crakes, pukeko and bitterns gather in the calm lake shallows.


11. White-water raft through dramatic gorges and the more than 60 rapids on the Tongariro River. There are trips for every family member and level of adventurousness.

12. Try your luck landing a shining wild trout fly fishing on the Tongariro River.

13. Ride or walk the 15km Tongariro River Trail – a scenic looped track for walking and mountain biking.

14. Enjoy some educational fun at the Tongariro National Trout Centre, with the chance for kids to catch their own trout and see the beautiful Whio (native blue duck) up close at the whio creche.

15. Korohe Horse Treks offer a wonderful day of family-fun, criss-crossing native forest, streams and rivers on horses.

16. Take a short walk or overnight hike in the wild and untouched Kaimanawa Forest Park.

17. Discover some of the region’s best cafes and restaurants – Creel Tackle House & Café and RUST Gourmet Burger Bar are well worth a stop, and Tongariro Lodge offers a world-class dining experience.

Taupo town

18. Soak in rejuvenating mineral-rich thermal hot pools.

19. Explore the more than 220km of mountain bike trails around the region – from the Huka Trails, to Craters Mountain Bike Park, the epic Great Lake Trails and the Great Lake Pathway, there’s a ride for every age and ability.

20. Get an adrenaline buzz! Jump out of a plane or off a bungy ledge, jet boat the mighty Waikato River, fly 1,000ft above Lake Taupo on a parasail – if you’ve got the nerve, Taupo has the test for it.

21. Kayak or take a scenic boat cruise up the Waikato River, or on Lake Taupo to the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori rock carvings.

22. Take a scenic walk along the edge of New Zealand’s longest river, the mighty Waikato, to the iconic Huka Falls.

23. Go shopping! Discover galleries, gift shops, boutique design stores and artist studios offering a creative edit of gorgeous items for you and your home.

24. Take in a round of golf, or try your luck bagging $10,000 with Lake Taupo Hole in One.


25. Enjoy fish and chips from the local Kinloch Store to eat on the beach whilst the kids play with toys from the public beach library and toy shed.

26. Ride the Great Lake Trails. Four sections – Waihaha (shuttle required to start), K2K, W2K and the new Otaketake trail are directly accessible from the village. 

27. Explore the Whangamata Stream Walk – a relaxing 7km walk or cycle along a beautiful running stream. Perfect for the whole family and buggy friendly.

28. Take in a round of golf at New Zealand’s best golf course, The Kinloch Club, or the excellent local Kinloch 10-hole Golf Course.

29. Explore the western bays by boat or with a local fishing charter.

30. Discover local artisans in their home studios and take a piece of Kinloch home with you.


31. Get up late and enjoy breakfast at the Bus Stop Café – a unique converted 1972 Bedford bus right on the water’s edge.

32. Pack up a picnic or take the family camping at one of the lakeside campgrounds. Enjoy lazy days swimming, boating or fishing at one of the local reservoir lakes.

33. Explore the beautiful Pureora Forest Park on foot or mountain bike.

34. Walk or ride the Waikato River Trails – the many swing bridges are a highlight.

35. Tee off at the scenic local golf course nestled on the shores of Lake Maraetai.

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