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Top 25 walks and rides in Taupo

Taupo has some of the best walking and cycling trails in New Zealand from family friendly lakeside cruising to journeys deep into ancient native forest.

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 bike, BMX and jump parks.

Our world-class hiking trails crisscross ancient forests and swamplands, geothermal wonderlands, and breathtaking volcanic and alpine terrain. Walking and biking guides, shuttles and tour operators are available from Taupo town, Turangi and Mangakino. Book at the Taupo or Turangi i-SITE.


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.

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 that are 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 Turangi, 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 Taupo. 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. 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 Taupo 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 Taupo 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 Taupo town centre’s many hidden laneways. Discover a rich collection of vibrant large-scale artworks. Dog friendly.

14. Great Lake Pathway

This scenic and accessible walkway is mostly 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 Taupo, towards the Tongariro National Park and across the central North Island.

16. Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserve Walk

Explore rare mature podocarp forest, discover local Maori 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 all the way to Huka Falls (and on to Aratiatia Dam) from Taupo town, following the course of the Waikato River. Dog friendly.

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 flood gates open creating a spectacular flow of water 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 out across the central North Island.

27. Tama Lakes

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

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