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Top 25 free and affordable experiences in Taupō

With its stunning outdoor lifestyle, the Taupō region has endless experiences for every budget and style of travel.

1. Aratiatia Rapids

Thousands of litres of water are released from the dam creating a spectacular flow of water. Summer: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm. Winter: 10am, 12pm, 2pm.

2. Gardens of Significance

Taupō town is home to six beautiful Gardens of Significance as recognised by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, including the 6-star Anacapri garden.

3. Huka Falls

View 220,000l of water per second hurtling through a narrow chasm over the stunning Huka Falls. Walking and biking trails surround the falls.

4. Otumuheke Stream

Soak in natural hot springs at Otumuheke Stream in Spa Thermal Park or walk alongside the beautiful Waikato River towards Huka Falls

5. The Great Lake Pathway

Voted New Zealand's Favourite Urban Ride 2017. Bike or walk along the easy grade, 10-kilometre paved trail from Taupō Harbour to Five Mile Bay for beautiful lake views and beaches. 

6. Graffiato street art

Grab a copy of the Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival walking map from the Taupō Visitor Information Centre and discover a vibrant collection of large-scale public artworks.

7. Market Central Taupō 

Step into a world of charming handcrafted treasures and mouth-watering eats! Come treat yourself to some delightful bites and bask in the joy of free live music in a stunning setting – all on a lazy Sunday morning. 

8. Fun Island pontoon

Swim in Lake Maraetai at Mangakino and jump from the 17-metre floating pontoon with a 1.5-metre bomb tower and slide.

9. Scenic road trip

Drive 160 km around spectacular Lake Taupō via the Western Bays and SH1. There are beautiful picnic and swimming spots along the way.


The stunning backdrop of Lake Taupō and the mountainous peaks of Tongariro National Park makes the #LOVETAUPŌ sign a perfect photo stop.


11. Tokaanu Thermal Walk

See steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud pools on this short, easy walk. Located adjacent to the Tokaanu Thermal Pools.

12. Rose Gardens

The Joan Williamson Rose Gardens in the South Tongariro Domain are home to over 500 beautiful, fragrant rose bushes.

13. Climb Mount Tauhara

This 2.5km trail climbs to the summit at 1,088m, offering panoramic views over Lake Taupō, Tongariro National Park and central North Island.

14. Sculpture walk

Discover 12 sculptural installations around Taupō town. Many works reflect local landscapes and the spiritual connection to Māori.

15. Waikato River Trails

Walkers and mountain bikers can explore a series of beautiful riverside trails. Cross a 70-metre suspension bridge over the Mangakino Stream.

16. Rangatira Point Track

Stroll through native bush on this scenic lakeside trail to Whakamoenga Point, where you will find flat volcanic rocks perfect for picnicking and swimming.

17. Huka Trails

Explore scenic walking and biking trails along both sides of the Waikato River, ranging from 5 minutes to two hours. Take in Huka Falls from all angles.

18. Taupō Bike Park

Located in Spa Thermal Park, the bike park is loads of fun for all ages. Those with more experience can hit the jumppark.

19. Lake Taupō Hole in One Challenge

Tee off for your chance to win $10,000! Land a hole-in-one on the floating pontoon, and you could be in the money.

20. Glow electric scooters

Download the Bird app (Android store / Apple store), grab an e-scooter, and explore Taupō town’s laneways and scenic lakefront walkway on two wheels.

21. Artist studios and galleries

Explore Taupō’s vibrant art and craft culture. Discover painting, woodwork, ceramic, jewellery, glass and pottery studios. You can even enjoy Art in the Park every Saturday. 

22. Waipahihi Botanical Gardens

85-acre reserve containing alpine and native plants, azaleas and camellias. Short walks, picnic spots and impressive views.

23. Fish and chips at Kinloch beach

Order fish and chips at the local Kinloch Store and eat on the beach while the kids explore the public beach library and toybox shed.

24. Craters of the Moon

Immerse yourself in steam clouds as you stroll through an active geothermal field with a boardwalk and viewing platforms. Wheelchair and buggy friendly.

25. Stay in a DOC hut

Head out on a hiking adventure within one of the region's forests and national parks and stay overnight in a DOC hut. Camping gear and provisions are required.

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