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Winter wellness tips

Winter in New Zealand is as beautiful as it is frosty, and Taupo showcases its ancient volcanic and geothermal history proudly throughout the winter months. Taupo’s location also makes it the ideal spot to base yourself for adventuring in the central North Island, and Turangi is the perfect basecamp for exploring the Tongariro River and Tongariro National Park.

But remember, winter is also the perfect time of year to reset and refocus, so we’ve put together some winter wellness tips with flair so you can relax while getting out and about in the Taupo terrain. Read on for some tips on how to stay healthy this winter, at some local hotspots that will have you feeling the warm fuzzies!

Keep active

While it may be hard to find the motivation to exercise when it is cold and dark outside in the winter months, your body needs to work overtime to keep warm, so you can actually burn more kilojoules exercising during the cooler weather. Taupo is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with world-class walking and cycling trails for everybody. The Taupo region has some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand, with internationally recognised, purpose-built trails to suit every type of bike rider. Plus, Taupo has free-draining volcanic pumice soil, which means less muddy puddles, even during in the depths of winter!

From grade 1-2 family, e-bike tracks and cross-country trails, mountain bike parks and BMX jump parks to epic overnight adventures and grade 5 downhill, there’s something for everyone in Taupo. Explore the trails on your own, hire a bike, take a guided trip or book a multi-day package – you’ll uncover experiences and scenery that will – quite literally – take your breath away!

Take a journey of discovery along these incredible rides throughout the region with the award-winning Great Lake Pathway in Taupo town. Interested in some more ideas? Here’s a list of our favourites:

With such variety, you may need to book two winter getaways!

Manage your stress levels 

For many of us, it’s difficult to find the time during the week to properly manage our health and dedicate time to looking after our body and mind. But in Taupo, it’s easy to shake off the stress of the work week. Find solace in the outdoors absorbing fresh Taupo air and exploring a volcanic landscape crisscrossed with excellent walking and biking trails, epic ski areas, rivers, lakes and scenery that will recharge the soul. There really is something energising about getting fresh winter air in your lungs, and we think these activities are the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate:

Ski and ride at Whakapapa Ski Area

Did you know skiing and snow activities have been proven to be beneficial at aiding stress and managing your mental health? The New Zealand snow is some of the best in the world, and getting active on the Whakapapa Ski Area is possible no matter your skill level, with terrain to cater to everyone.

The Whakapapa Ski Area is a must-do, especially with the newly installed Sky Waka Gondola which is the first of its kind in New Zealand and largest in the country. Not only is the architecture impressive, but it has panoramic coast-to-coast views of the entire central plateau that will most certainly take your breath away!

White-water rafting adventures

If water sports are for you, wrap up warm and jump into the rapids in Tongariro River with your expert guide at the helm.

The experienced team at Tongariro River Rafting are also the founders of the Blue Duck Project, who work to restore the rare native blue duck (whio) and their natural habitat alongside the Tongariro River, so they can point some out during your journey.

Geothermal hot pools

Geothermal pools are what Taupo is famous for. Remember that health and wellbeing isn’t just about being active, it’s about relaxing your mind and body too. And what better way to relax than soaking in a mineral-rich bath?

Warm up this winter in the waters of Taupo towns beautiful natural hot spot, Otumuheke Stream at Spa Thermal Park. Warm geothermal waters from Otumuheke Stream flow gently into the Waikato River, providing a hot spot where bathers can relax in healing mineral water. Soak under a waterfall or in the natural rock pools whilst taking in the stunning views of the deep green, crystal-clear waters of the mighty Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river. 

Or for a more sophisticated experience, visit Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa, an adults-only geothermal resort uniquely situated below magnificent silica terraces just north of Taupo town. Silica-enriched water cascades over the terraces from a geyser above, depositing large amounts of silica to form these amazing terraces. Bathe at the bottom of the terraces and beneath a waterfall in a series of pools that vary in temperature.

Eat well

Keep your immune system in tip-top shape while on holiday by making sure you’re eating a fresh and healthy diet – there’s certainly no compromise on flavour at these fantastic eateries and restaurants in Taupo.

Enjoy locally-sourced meals, beside a crackling fire, with the spectacular sunset view of Lake Taupo and the snowy peaks beyond, and share stories of your day on the snow. Both Plateau Bar & Restaurant and Vine Eatery serve up hearty winter fare, open fires, and a huge selection of dietary options that cater for all visitors – making sure you get your nutrition hit after a day of activity.

The Brantry has an excellent reputation as one of the region’s top restaurants, boasting award-winning local and international cuisine, making it a must-visit while you’re in Taupo. Spoil yourself, and indulge in the freshest local ingredients.

Hare & Copper Eatery & Bar is the newest addition to the dining scene in Turangi. Hare & Copper offer a range of delicious options for brunch and dinner, with shared plates a great option for groups.  Enjoy your meal in a beautiful setting at the old River Vineyard location.

Lakeland House Restaurant situated next to Braxmere Lodge in Tokaanu, is very much a destination restaurant. It is as much about the delicious food as it is about the glorious location and stunning views, right on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. Bookings essential.

So remember, when you plan your next Taupo adventure, be sure to include some soothing, relaxing and warm activities to keep your body and mind in balance through the rest of the cold months.

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Taupo – the riding hub of the North Island 


A guide to hot pools in Taupō 

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