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Your guide to Malcolm Flowers Insurances Taupō Winter Festival 2024

Even with the chilly weather in full swing, you’ll find Taupō heating up with its annual Winterfest celebrations!

Spread across the two weeks of the July school holidays, Winterfest is action-packed full of fun for the whole family. So make sure you mark it on the calendar, as you won’t want to miss out.

What is Winter festival?

Winterfest is an awesome event that happens every July school holidays.

There’s a huge range of activities on offer over the two weeks - everything from an ice skating rink to comedy shows, live music And every evening is in the incredible Mercury Light Hub in Tongariro Domain, which is always a favourite with the young, and young at heart.

Don’t forget your togs, because there’s the gloriously refreshing More FM mid-winter swim, and to warm up, why not encourage a bit of friendly competition with the Dropzone Family Bowling Challenge, or send the kids along to the roller disco.

Winter Festival is operated by One Taupo Trust who give money back to families in the region that are under financial hardship from having a sick family member: https://www.onetaupotrust.org.nz/

Fancy a years supply of ice cream? or perhaps a years supply of firewood? https://www.taupowinterfestival.co.nz/charity-raffle

Feeling creative? Try your hand at creating some one-of-a-kind art pieces with the Carnival Creations wearable arts workshop, decorating a pottery tumbler, rock painting or an evening of sipping (on your favourite beverage) and painting (a masterpiece).

And while some of the events are ticketed, plenty of them are free, including the Taupō Top 10 Fun Zone that’s on the 12th, 13th and 14th of July in Tongariro Domain. There will be bumper balls, a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and other games to play.

We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to what’s on offer, so grab your guide of what’s on, and when. Then get planning your trip!

Where to stay?

When you’re travelling with the kids, comfort and space is key. And in Taupō, we’ve got all kinds of wonderful family-friendly accommodation.

From motels and holiday resorts, to campground cabins, holiday homes and self-contained apartments, as well as the all important amenities like hot pools, bouncing pillows and hydro slides (if you know, you know). But if you’re sans little ones, you might feel more at home in some of our beautiful boutique lodgings and luxurious glamping/off-grid properties.

It may be mid-winter in the Central Plateau - well, in all of New Zealand - but the competition for accommodation is always hot, hot, hot in the school holidays. So make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.

Where to eat?

There’s no shortage of fantastic eateries and restaurants in Taupō, from family-friendly dining, to cosy cafes, fine dining, bars and bistros and tables with a view - you’ll never go hungry here!

Participating eateries have put together some wonderful Winter Festival special combos and menu items which will be available exclusively for the duration of the Festival.


And, just to add to the difficult but delicious decision of where to grab a bite, the Winterfest brings with it its own Fortnight of Food. Those who are participating will be offering wonderful Winter Festival special combos and menu items, available exclusively for the two weeks of Winterfest. From feeding a crowd to a quick bite before a show and takeaways to enjoy in the comfort of your accommodation, there’s something to suit every taste.

What to do during Winterfest?

While the schedule is packed pretty tight with lots of incredible Winterfest activities, you also might like to check out some of the local attractions that bring people to Taupō all-year-round.

The natural geothermal hot pools dotted around the region are a must-do, and if you’re in town for a morning or afternoon, take a self-guided tour of the amazing street art adorning the walls of buildings. This is thanks to our annual Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival and there’s actually more than 85 of them located around the place! Grab your Graffiato Walking Map online or from the Taupō Visitor Centre on Tongariro Street and see how many you can spot. It’s a great activity to get the kids to help out with!

No visit to Taupō is complete without getting out on the water and checking out the beautiful Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings, towering 14 metres above the water. You could hitch a ride on a sailboat with Sail Barbary or Taupō Sailing Adventures, cruise in style on a cat with Chris Jolly, or enjoy the boutique experience of a replica steamboat with Ernest Kemp. But if thrills are what you’re after, you can’t go past a ride on the Rapids Jet or Hukafalls Jet.

Indoor fun? We’ve got it! Dropzone at The Landing has ten-pin bowling till late, as well as a trampoline park and playground, and next door is The Cave, a virtual reality studio. And you won’t even need to pack a lunch with eateries a-plenty onsite.

What to do after Winterfest?

If you’re planning on sticking around for a bit to wind down after Winterfest, you’d be most welcome. Perhaps you’d like to play a round or two of golf, try your hand at fly fishing for trout, or take a walk through a geothermal wonderland.

We’re also pretty proud of our mountain bike trails, which we fondly know as the Supervolcanic Trail Network. They have been built to suit all ages and abilities - and with over 30 different trails that cover more than 380 kilometres across the region - there’s a ride for everyone. You don’t even have to worry about packing the bike, as there are a number of rental options available in town. So make a list of the ones you’d like to check out, and tick them off as you go. And to keep you fueled in between rides, check out the cosiest places to eat and drink in Taupō in winter.

With a few more days up your sleeve, we also recommend venturing further afield from Taupō to some of the towns and settlements dotted around the lake. Explore the hidden gems of Tongariro National Park, and see why we love Turangi and the southern shores of Lake Taupō.

So there you have it. Everything you need to know about Winterfest and how to make the most of your visit to our wonderful little town. We hope you have a fantastic time!

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  4. Your guide to Malcolm Flowers Insurances Taupō Winter Festival 2024