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Leading the charge in the development of Taupo’s art scene is the Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival that brings together some of the world’s best street artists at Labour weekend every year. Attend the festival and watch the artists in action, or download a walking map and view over 80 beautiful murals that form New Zealand’s largest collection of street art.
Market Central Taupo, on Sundays in Taupo town, is a great place to meet local artists and view and purchase their work. You’ll find all kinds of artworks including carved wooden pieces, garden art, painted glass, handmade clothing and knitted goods, jewellery, leather goods and textiles. Next to the market is Active Arts Taupo’s gallery which sometimes opens on a Saturday to sell paintings by local artists. Check their Facebook page for sale dates.
There are many other galleries in the Lake Taupo area selling local art including Wildwood Gallery, Red Rock Gallery, Zea You Gallery, Pihanga Gallery, Taupo Art Gallery and Kura Art + Design Aotearoa.
A great way to see a cross-section of over 20 local artists is to join the Taupo Art Trail which takes place at Queen’s Birthday weekend each year. Participants tour the region and visit artists at their studio or gallery to view their work.
Locals love to combine coffee drinking with art and visit one of the region’s cafe galleries. Lava Glass Studio, Gallery, Sculpture Garden and Cafe displays the beautiful glass art created by owner and world-renowned glass artist Lynden Over. The sculpture garden features more than 600 glass art sculptures and some of the largest pieces of glass blown in New Zealand, and if you time it right you might be lucky enough to watch a glassblowing demonstration in the workshop. L’Arte Cafe & Gallery is set in a magical, art-filled garden and is famous for its outdoor mosaic living room. The gallery exhibits resident ceramic artist Judi Brennan’s work, and paintings by local artists adorn the cafe walls.
The music scene in Taupo is alive and kicking. Head to Two Mile Bay Sailing Centre Bar & Cafe on a Sunday afternoon for their locally-famous Sunday Jam session (they also do really good woodfired pizza), or to Mulligan’s Irish Pub on a Thursday night for their open mic nights.
Taupo is awash with music events, especially during summer, and locals know to secure tickets early for the annual Taupo Summer Concert. The amphitheatre at Riverside Park is the perfect backdrop for this outdoor concert that promises big international acts and a massive crowd. The Whakaipo Lodge Summer Concert is a hidden gem of an event. This afternoon blues concert takes place in the picturesque grounds of a private lodge in Acacia Bay. Pack a picnic and celebrate the last days of summer at this popular event.
The Taupo Winter Festival, taking place in July each year, hosts a number of music, theatre and comedy events, and Centre Stage, the local playhouse, stages a number of excellent productions each year.