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Taupo town is just three and a half hours drive from Auckland and an hour and fifteen minutes scenic drive from Whakapapa ski resort, making it the perfect base for your winter holiday and home to plenty of things to do in New Zealand. Experience New Zealand snow and ski or snowboard in the UNESCO dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park, discover boutique shopping, soak in geothermal hot pools and relax by a cozy fire at one of the exclusive luxury lodges, or fine dining restaurants in Taupo town.
As winter snow blankets the peaks and the days turn cold with azure blue skies, Taupo becomes the ultimate alpine holiday destination. Temperatures during winter in Taupo can vary from -2˚C to 15˚C, so we recommend checking MetService for the latest Taupo weather and snow reports.
Characterised by million-dollar views, Taupo has everything from motels, boutique hotels, and apartments to some of New Zealand’s most sought-after and iconic luxury accommodation - each offering their own bespoke experiences and delightfully luxurious winter ski packages.
Immerse yourself in style on the shores of the Waikato River at Huka Lodge, long considered one of the top retreats in the world. Relaxation will come easy as you soak up the serenity with a glass of New Zealand wine expertly paired with cuisine by Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt after a day on the slopes. Or for the active relaxer, what better way to experience the vast natural landscape of the region than with a weekend at Poronui; the ultimate luxury wilderness retreat hidden in the secluded Taharua Valley. Take a scenic helicopter flight to Whakapapa Ski Area one day, and venture deep into the mountains with an expertly skilled fly-fishing guide on the next!
There’s a lot on offer in Taupo after a day on the slopes. Come and see the town come to life with fairy light-lined streets and cozy bars and restaurants with hearty winter food menus, mulled wine and crackling fires. From ethnic food to New Zealand cuisine with a strong local influence, foodies will be in heaven with the range of options available at restaurants like The Bistro, Plateau, Edgewater Restaurant and Bistro Lago. Wine and beer lovers too are not forgotten. Vine Eatery and The Merchant of Taupo offer an incredible range of local and imported wines, and the Crafty Trout Brewery provides a quirky boutique brewery experience. The new 1.8km Sky Waka is opening for the 2019 winter season at Whakapapa ski area, taking passengers to New Zealand’s highest cafe and restaurant – the Knoll Ridge Chalet. At 2,020m above sea level the award-winning building has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pinnacles, providing an amazing dining backdrop with views over the central plateau.
Taupo is a volcanic, geothermal wonderland with a huge range of off-mountain activities ready to cater to your every need. Soak away the aches and pains of a day spent on the snow at one of the geothermal hot pools like the adults only Wairakei Terraces or make the most of the region’s free-draining pumice soil with a guided walk or mountain biking tour– our excellent guides will share the best trails and scenic wonders that the region has to offer.
Or, if you are after something a little more relaxed take a trip to the Taupo town centre and spend a morning browsing the impressive collection of charming boutique shops. It’s free to park, and you will find yourself enchanted by the vibrant outdoor murals around every turn. Explore an array of beautiful shops stocking New Zealand designer and overseas fashion labels, trendy homeware stores and cool art and jewellery galleries. You’ll also find an impressive range of hairdressers and health and beauty therapists if some indulgence is on the cards during your winter break.
Located just 40-minutes south of Taupo town and central to three New Zealand ski resorts (Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino), you will never be short of things to do in winter or things to do in the holidays when you base yourself in the beautiful village of Turangi. Located on the west bank of the magnificent Tongariro River in the plains below the Kaimanawa ranges, the friendly town of Turangi is New Zealand’s fly-fishing capital, as well as the gateway to the UNESCO dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park and the wild Kaimanawa Forest Park.
Originally developed as a home for workers on the Tongariro hydro-electric power development project, today Turangi draws keen anglers and hunters, holidaymakers, families, walkers and hikers, and is the ideal base camp for winter skiers and snowboarders heading to Mt Ruapehu’s ski areas. Ski gear, day ski passes, and mountain shuttles can all be easily arranged at one of the towns many ski hire or rental outfits. It’s a small town with a warm heart, offering access to the best of the region – white water rafting and fly fishing on the Tongariro River, swimming, boating and fishing on Lake Taupo, long and short walks and bike trails through beautiful native bush, active geothermal areas, rejuvenating hot pools, and a string of quaint holiday villages to explore along the lake shore. Through the changing seasons, it’s a place to find adventure, beauty, retreat and wonder.
Skiing the North Island has largely been under wraps for many years, but we've revealed 11 reasons why you should consider a ski holiday in Taupo, New Zealand.