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10.30am | Jetboat to the rapids and canyons of the Waikato River. Rapids Jet
12.00pm | Lunch while viewing one of the world's best master glass blowers. Lava Glass Gallery
12.45pm | Scenic drive to the Tongariro National Park.
2.45pm | Ride the Sky Waka Gondola to New Zealand's highest cafe. Mt Ruapehu
4.00pm | Sunset guided walk in the Tongariro National Park. Adrift Tongariro
Your Taupo experience begins this morning as you take off from the crystal-clear waters of Taupo’s lakefront by seaplane and climb over the vast waters of Lake Taupo and over the steaming valleys of the Waikato steam fields. Follow the mighty Waikato River north before coming to land beside the incredible hidden geothermal valley of Orakei Korako. Take time to wander around and explore the world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud and some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world before returning to Taupo’s lakefront.
This afternoon take a scenic cruise around Taupo’s northern bays, learning the Maori mythology and volcanic history of these special lands. Take the opportunity to hand feed the local wildlife before gently floating beneath the extraordinary 14-metre-high Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. As you cruise back to the town centre, try your luck at trout fishing and see if you can land one of these local delicacies (Chris Jolly Taste of Taupo Scenic cruise only). In New Zealand you cannot buy trout, so catching one yourself is the only way to enjoy freshly caught trout for dinner!
Later today enjoy another of Taupo’s icons – Huka Falls. Hire a mountain bike and experience the trails or stretch your legs on the walking paths that traverse the beautiful Waikato River before viewing the incredible thundering rapids of the Huka Falls.
Your day concludes this evening as you sit back and relax in the calming waters of a geothermal hot pool. The clays and waters of the Taupo thermal valleys have been highly valued by the local Maori for their healing and therapeutic powers for generations. Take the opportunity to soak at the base of silica terraces or in your own private thermal pool, guaranteed to leave you warm long after you have left their special waters.
Stay: Taupo town
Places of interest
Sail Barbary - eco sailing Lake Taupo
Ernest Kemp Scenic Cruise Lake Taupo
Orakei Korako Cave & Geothermal Park
Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs
Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa
Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls walk
Scenic Boat Tour to the Māori Rock Carvings with Chris Jolly Outdoors
Enjoy vast native bush, the song of native birds and the intense colour of the sparkling waters as you thunder down the Waikato River on one of New Zealand’s amazing Kiwi inventions – the jetboat. Be led through a landscape of towering boulders, warm water streams and thundering rapids as you journey to a part of New Zealand made famous in several international movies, including The Hobbit and Yogi Bear. This 35-minute jetboat experience it sure to leave you exhilarated for the rest of the day.
Enjoy an early lunch or well-deserved coffee at one of Taupo’s hidden secrets, Lava Glass Gallery and Café. Glass blowing is an incredible talent and you will have the opportunity to see one of the world’s master glass blowers at work. Discover the famous Volcanic Series of glass art with its 20 landscape designs, inspired by the stunning landscapes of the central North Island. Take a stroll through the Sculpture Garden with more than 600 glass art sculptures on display.
This afternoon take the very scenic drive around the shores of Lake Taupo to the Dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park. Mt Ruapehu is home to New Zealand’s largest gondola, the 1.8km Sky Waka. Take a ride and enjoy spectacular views around of the surrounding National Park. Be sure to take some time at the award-winning Knoll Ridge Chalet at the top of the gondola to enjoy a meal or refreshment while you gaze out of the floor to ceiling windows at a beautiful view of The Pinnacles.
This evening it's time to see and learn more about the surrounding landscapes with a once in a lifetime sunset guided hike in the Tongariro National Park. This easy personalised walk is sure to inspire and enlighten as you learn the local geology, volcanology and New Zealand cultural history in one of the most majestic places on earth, all while enjoying a glass of New Zealand bubbles as the sun sets over this spectacular landscape. (Departure times vary according to seasonality - earlier departure times in winter may require changes or omission of the Sky Waka Gondola experience).
Stay: Tongariro National Park
Places of interest
Sky Waka gondola - Whakapapa
Lava Glass Studio, Gallery, and Sculpture Garden
2 Hour Sunset Guided Walk Meet at Adrift Tongariro Base