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Top 25 walks and rides in Taupō

The Taupō region has some of the best walking and cycling trails in New Zealand, from family-friendly lakeside cruising to journeys deep into ancient native forests.

With over 220km of singletrack riding, you will find a trail for every age and ability, from grade 1-2 family and e-bike tracks to epic overnight adventures, grade 5 downhills, mountain bikes, BMX, and jump parks.

Our world-class hiking trails crisscross ancient forests and swamplands, geothermal wonderlands, and breathtaking volcanic and alpine terrain.

1. Mount Urchin Track

Climbing steadily through beech forest to the Urchin Trig at 1,391 metres. Enjoy views of Lake Taupo and the Tongariro National Park. Dog-friendly with a DOC permit. Carpark access is only for 4wd vehicles.

2. Tree Trunk Gorge

Journey through native bush, red beech forest, across streams and rivers, and over impressive gorges alongside the upper section of the Tongariro River. Dog-friendly with a DOC permit.

3. Whakapapa Village short walks

Whakapapa Nature Walk, Ridge Track, Mounds Walk, and Tawhai Falls are all short walks easily accessible from Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park.

4. Rotopounamu Track

Circumnavigate the emerald-coloured lake, which fills a crater nestled into the side of Mount Pihanga. Enjoy picnicking and swimming in the warmer months.

5. Tongariro River Trail

Starting in Tūrangi, this scenic looped trail follows the Tongariro River through rolling farmland and native bush with magnificent views and two swing bridges. Dog-friendly.

6. Pukawa to Omori Walk

Wander through lush native bush along the edge of Lake Taupō. Catch glimpses of the lake and look out for bellbird and tui in the trees above. Dog-friendly.

7. Whangamata Stream Trail

A relaxing 7km return forest trail along a beautiful running stream. It is family-friendly, and you may even spot some trout! Dog-friendly.

8. Rimu Walk

Walk amongst majestic Rimu trees and birdsong. The track climbs to a viewpoint that looks out over the stunning Pureora Forest and Mount Pureora.

9. Waihaha – Great Lake Trails

Towering volcanic rock cliffs, spectacular views, hidden waterfalls and transfer by water taxi are all highlights of this very scenic trail. Dog-friendly.

10. W2K – Great Lake Trails

A favourite with locals. Journey through stunning native bush and enjoy great views across Lake Taupō and down towards Kinloch. Dog-friendly.

11. K2K – Great Lake Trails

Flowing downhill, stunning wetlands, secluded beaches perfect for a mid-way swim and sweeping views of Lake Taupō are just some of the highlights. 

Three sections are directly accessible from Kinloch, and a brilliant new addition – the Otaketake Trail – can be ridden as a return ride or combined with the Orakau Trail to form a 35km loop. Dog-friendly.

12. 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. Dog friendly.

13. Graffiato Walking Trail

Wander off the main streets and explore Taupō town centre’s many hidden laneways. Discover a rich collection of vibrant, large-scale, new artworks added every Labour Day Weekend. Dog-friendly.

14. Great Lake Pathway

This scenic and accessible walkway is flat, with plenty of stop-off points for picnics, coffee and ice cream, swims and photo opportunities. Dog-friendly.

15. Mount Tauhara

Climb to the summit at 1,088m and take in stunning panoramic views over Lake Taupō, towards the Tongariro National Park and across the central North Island.

16. Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserve Walk

Explore rare mature podocarp forests, and discover local Māori history and relics from the historic Opepe township. Dog-friendly.

17. Spa Park to Huka Falls

Wander along the banks of the beautiful Waikato River from the geothermal Otumuheke Stream in Spa Thermal Park to the spectacular Huka Falls. Dog-friendly.

18. Rotary Ride

Ride (or walk) to Huka Falls (and on to Aratiatia Dam) from Taupō town, following the course of the Waikato River. Dog-friendly. Shared trail.

19. Huka Falls to Aratiatia

Ride from Huka Falls to Aratiatia Dam along the banks of the Waikato River. Return or loop back on the other side of the river. Dog-friendly.

20. Aratiatia Rapids Lookout Walk

A short, family-friendly walk. Witness the Aratiatia Dam floodgates open, creating a spectacular water flow through a narrow gorge. Dog-friendly.

21. Craters of the Moon

Showcasing natural geothermal activity, this walk includes bubbling craters, steam vents and colourful soils. Wheelchair accessible.

22. Tokaanu Thermal Walk

Discover steaming hot mineral pools, spluttering mud pools, and trout in the stream on this family friendly short walk next to Tokaanu Thermal Pools.

23. Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave

Enjoy a boardwalk and trail that winds through a geothermal wonderland featuring gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud and amazing silica terraces. Dog friendly.

24. Whakamaru section of the Waikato River Trails

Wind around the edge of Lake Whakamaru, across wetlands and boardwalks, and stand in awe of huge bluffs rising from the lake.  

25. Timber Trail

Explore ancestral Maori land deep in the ancient Pureora Forest Park. Ride a historic tramway and cross an epic 140m suspension bridge. Lodges available. Dog friendly with a DOC permit.

And a few extras:

26. Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is rated as the best one-day hike in New Zealand. Trek across an ancient volcanic landscape of dramatic contrasts – steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation and vivid crater lakes, all with stunning views across the central North Island.

27. Tama Lakes

The Tama Lakes track extends to the Taranaki Falls walking track, forming part of the larger Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk (43.1km loop). Highlights include beautiful waterfalls, tussock and alpine shrubs, beech forest, impressive crater lakes and fantastic views of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe.

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