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If you’re visiting Lake Taupō this summer, you’re in for a treat. An outdoor explorer’s paradise, there’s much to see and do.
From towering mountain tops to crystal clear lakes, lush native forests, and everything in between, each part of the wider region offers something unique to those who stop by. North, south, east and west - wherever you go, you’re covered with accommodation, activities and attractions.
So all we can say is, we hope you’ve booked enough time to stay because there are a lot of incredible experiences to pack in!
Tongariro National Park is Aotearoa's oldest national park and also boasts the title of dual World Heritage Site (of which there are only 29 across the whole world). Safe to say, it’s a pretty special place where you can truly immerse yourself in your natural and cultural surroundings.
- 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.
- If you want to avoid the crowds, the Tama Lakes hike is an excellent alternative to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The Southern Bays is a pristine natural environment where you’ll find boaties and fishermen aplenty. And from friendly little villages dotted around the lake’s edge, to private bays and sheltered inlets, it’s easy to secure yourself a secluded spot on the shoreline here.
- Stay in a retro Kombi cabin at the Motuoapa Bay Holiday Park and watch the boats coming in and out of the marina.
- 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.
- Discover bubbling mud on the family-friendly Tokaanu Thermal Walk followed by a rejuvenating soak at the adjacent thermal pools.
-Hear the melodious chimes of native birds along the many short walks between the lakeside settlements of Kuratau, Omori and Pukawa.
- Stay the night amongst the vines at Streamblock, a boutique winery and olive grove where incredible views have you overlooking the vineyard and Lake Taupō.
Tūrangi is only 40 minutes south of Taupō township, and while it’s often seen as the ‘gateway’ to Tongariro National Park, it can certainly hold its own when it comes to adventures to be had. You could easily spend a few days here checking out the various attractions available.
- Climb aboard a raft with Tongariro River Rafting, who have a range of experiences through dramatic gorges and the more than 60 rapids on the Tongariro River. There are trips for every family member and level of ‘fearlessness’.
- Try your luck landing a brown or rainbow trout fly fishing on the Tongariro River.
- Ride or walk the 15km Tongariro River Trail – a scenic looped track for walking and mountain biking.
- Enjoy some educational fun at the Tongariro National Trout Centre, with the chance for kids to catch their own trout. You can also see the beautiful Whio (an endangered, native blue duck) up close at the whio creche.
- Korohe Horse Treks offer a wonderful day of family-fun, criss-crossing native forest, streams and rivers on horses.
- Pay a visit to the Pihanga Art Gallery in the Tūrangi town centre. Run by the Pihanga Art Co-operative, there’s a wide range of beautiful art made by a group of passionate and accomplished artists who live locally.
- Take a short walk or overnight hike in the wild and untouched Kaimanawa Forest Park.
The largest settlement around the wider Lake Taupō, here you’ll find a family-friendly holiday hotspot catering to a range of interests. There’s boutique retailers a-plenty for the shoppers, cafes, restaurants and eateries galore for the foodies, and a whole heap of fun things to keep the kids amused too!
- Hire a bike from FourB Bike Hire and Tours, and explore the more than 220 km 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.
- If you’ve got the nerve, Taupō has the test for it! You could get your adrenaline buzz from jumping out of a plane or head to the AJ Hackett Bungy and Swing for some extra epic thrills. Why not take a hoon up the mighty Waikato River on the Hukafalls Jet or fly 1,000 ft above Lake Taupō on a parasail.
- Wander the Craters of the Moon geothermal walkway, through a weird, other-worldly landscape featuring colourful soil, bubbling craters and steaming vents - right below your feet!
- Walk the Graffiato Trail around Taupō town centre, where you’ll find incredible, large-scale murals where buildings have been used as canvas for the art. Some are easy to spot, while others are hidden down laneways. Grab a map from the Taupō Museum or Taupō visitor’s centre.
- Kayak or take a scenic boat cruise up the Waikato River, or on Lake Taupō to the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori rock carvings. There’s a number of providers, including Chris Jolly, Taupō Sailing Adventures, Ernest Kemp, and Sail Barbary.
- Take a picturesque walk along the edge of New Zealand’s longest river, the mighty Waikato, to the iconic Huka Falls.
- Go shopping! Discover galleries, gift shops, boutique design stores and artist studios offering a creative edit of gorgeous items for you and your home. And make sure you stop by Lava Glass, a 10 minute drive from downtown Taupō. It’s well worth the visit!
- Is it really a holiday with family and friends if you don’t spend at least one hour locked in a room with each other? For fun of course! Check out Confinement Escape Rooms for those days when it isn’t quite beach weather.
- For high-speed thrills (and hopefully not spills), the Taupō Motorsport Park is the place to be for petrol-heads and those who just like to go fast.
- At The Landing you’ll find a whole day of activities to keep everyone happy. From mini golf to ten pin bowling, an outdoor ninja course, indoor bounce park and playground and virtual reality, it’s all here! And don’t worry, there’s plenty of delicious food for refuelling at Cafe Lacus, Suga Mummas and Mavericks Gastropub.
- Get up close and personal with a volcanic world of gushing geysers, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest, most amazing silica terraces in the world. A morning or afternoon at Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave is a must!
At 20 minutes from downtown Taupō, Kinloch is an ideal little day trip for the family. It’s also home to a number of epic trails for those keen on mountain biking. A buzz with locals and visitors alike in summer, there’s also a few events on the calendar at this time of the year - so keep an eye out for dates and what’s on.
- Grab some fish and chips from the local Kinloch Store to enjoy on the beach while the kids play with toys from the public beach library and toy shed.
- Explore the Whangamata Stream Walk. It’s a relaxing 7km walk or cycle along a beautiful running stream, where you’ll often see trout coming up to spawn. Perfect for the whole family and buggy-friendly.
- 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.
- Experience luxury accommodation at Kinloch Manor and Villas, offering incredible views over the golf course, Kinloch and the lake.
A small, picturesque town on the shore of Lake Maraetai, Mangakino is an ideal spot for enjoying a classic Kiwi summer - lakeside camping, swimming, games of cricket, getting stuck into a good book and a daily bushwalk for a change of scenery, all before the call of ‘dinner’s up’.
- Grab breakfast, brunch or lunch at Ata’s Bar & Eatery. The food is delicious and the coffee is fantastic!
- 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.
- Explore the beautiful Pureora Forest Park on foot or mountain bike.
- Walk or ride the Waikato River Trails – the many swing bridges are a highlight.
- Tee off at the scenic local golf course nestled on the shores of Lake Maraetai.
No matter what you’re looking for these summer holidays, you’ll find it all in the Taupō Region. And here’s some itineraries to get you inspired!
Enjoy unhurried adventures across the Taupō region this summer by slowing down the pace on these 10 walking trails through rainforests, past rare rain-fed lagoons and alongside thundering rapids and emerald-coloured whirlpools.