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5 Day - Taupo in depth

Our 5 Day Taupo in depth itinerary will ensure you have plenty of time to explore the scenic wonders of Taupo while still having time to relax and soak up the tranquility of this spectacular region.

Itinerary overview

Day one

10.30am | Cruise to New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction, Huka Falls, in a purpose-built riverboat. Huka Falls River Cruise

12.00pm | Watch the incredible Aratiatia Rapids as thousands of litres of water are released into the rocky canyon below. 

2.00pm | Experience the power of the Huka Falls by foot or by bike. Four B / Huka Trails

Day two

9.30am | Private charter around the secluded bays of Lake Taupo, including trout fishing and the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. Chris Jolly Outdoors or Lake Taupo Cruises

3.30pm | Relaxing soak in a thermal mineral pool. Wairakei Terraces Thermal Health Spa or Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs

Day three

Enjoy a driving tour of the galleries and scenic highlights of northern Taupo.

11.00am | Be mesmerized by a master glass blower at work, or wander around over 600 glass sculptures. Lava Glass Studio Gallery & Sculpture Garden

1.00pm | Experience the fascinating world of the honeybee. Sample honey, mead and cosmetics. Huka Honey Hive

2.00pm | Visit New Zealand's only prawn farm where you can fish for your own prawns. Huka Prawn Park

Day four

8.00am | Take a scenic drive around the shores of the lake to Turangi.

9.00am | Explore the world renowned Tongariro River either white water rafting or raft fishing. Tongariro River Rafting

2.00pm | Ride the Sky Waka Gondola to New Zealand's highest cafe. Sky Waka Gondola - Whakapapa

Day five

Explore Tongariro National Park with a guided hike (Tongariro Alpine Crossing or Whakapapa Village short walks). Adrift Tongariro or Backyard Tours




Day one

Cruise to New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction

Experience amazing views of Huka Falls from a purpose built riverboat, with comfortable inside seating, large rear deck and front viewing platform.

Experience: Huka Falls River Cruise
Time allowance: 1.5 hours

Taupo's scenic highlights

Visit the Aratiatia Dam right next to Huka Falls River Cruise. This amazing spectacle sees the flood gates of the Hydro Power Station at Aratiatia Dam open three times a day (10am, 12pm and 2pm) for just 10 minutes, to allow the Waikato River to take its original natural course through the spectacular Aratiatia Rapids. Through this canyon you will see the river fall 28 metres in the space of just 1 kilometre, creating some of the most thunderous rapids in the world. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early to capture the beauty of these canyons filling from nothing to an incredible torrent in such a short space of time.

Time allowance: 20 minutes
Transfer Time: Aratiatia Rapids to Four B – 10 minutes

Continue your journey to Taupo’s township and settle into your lakeside accommodation. Wander the shops in the boutique style shopping centre and find the perfect café or restaurant to take in the views of the vast Lake Taupo.

Transfer time
: Taupo township to Four B 10 minutes

Ride the Huka Trails

Later this afternoon stretch your legs and experience Huka Falls from a new perspective. Either hire a mountain bike and experience the easy grade trails or wander the riverside walking tracks to find the perfect vantage point. You will hear the thundering falls long before you see them, as a quarter of million litres of water erupts from a natural gorge and plummets over the falls. It will be hard to tear your eyes away from the endless, mesmerising torrent.  

Experience: Four B (bike hire) / Huka Trails
Time allowance: 1-2 hours

Stay: Taupo 

Places of interest

Huka Falls River Cruise

Day two

Get out and explore the lake

No trip to Taupo would be complete without spending time on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupo. Board your private charter boat for a morning on the lake and cruise the northern bays of Lake Taupo as your skipper tell the stories and history of the surrounding landscapes. You will have the opportunity to view the towering 14-metre-high Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings for that perfect photo opportunity before your personal trout fishing lesson. Let your skipper guide you through the art of fishing and hopefully help you catch your own rainbow trout. Trout cannot be bought in New Zealand, therefore the only way to try this local delicacy is to catch it yourself! As you cruise back to Taupo’s boat harbour enjoy a sumptuous home cooked lunch on board, with a glass of New Zealand wine or beer to accompany.

Private fishing charter in Lake Taupo - Levante, Chris Jolly Outdoors

Experience: Chris Jolly Outdoors or Lake Taupo Cruises (private charter)
Time allowance: 1/2 to full day
Transfer Time: Taupo boat harbour to thermal pools – 10-15 minutes

Enjoy a relaxing soak in geothermal waters

This afternoon it’s time to 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 these special waters.

Experience: Wairakei Terraces Thermal Health Spa or Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs (pool admission)
Time allowance: From 1 hour

STAY: Taupo

Places of interest

Lake Taupo Cruises

Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs

Chris Jolly Outdoors - Private Fishing Charters

Day three

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day this morning. Take a stroll around the lakefront pathway, stopping for a coffee or breakfast at one of the cafés or restaurants with spectacular views across the lake to the mountains of the Tongariro National Park.

Lunch in a sculpture garden

Enjoy an early lunch or well-deserved coffee at one of Taupo’s hidden secrets, Lava Glass Gallery, Café and Sculpture Garden. 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, before concluding your visit with a browse through the gallery.

Experience: Lava Glass Studio, Gallery, and Sculpture Garden
Time allowance: 1 - 1.5 hours
Transfer time: Aratiatia Rapids to Lava Glass Gallery - 10 minutes

Explore the fascinating world of the honeybee

The central plateau of New Zealand’s North Island is world renowned for producing some of the best honey in the world. Take a tour through the world of the honeybee at Huka Honey Hive. View live beehives and discover health and wellness products as well as the opportunity to taste a range of honey and mead products sourced from all over New Zealand.

Experience: Huka Honey Hive (free entry)
Time allowance: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Transfer time: Huka Honey Hive to Huka Prawn Park - 5 minutes

Visit New Zealand's only prawn farm

Conclude your day with a tour of New Zealand’s only prawn farm. Located on the banks of the Waikato River this unique attraction farms a tropical freshwater river prawn while utilising the earth’s geothermal heat. This quirky tour introduces you to the surprisingly fascinating world of the prawn and concludes with the opportunity to either fish for and catch your own prawns, or to relax in their riverside restaurant and savour the delicacies delivered straight to your table. 

Experience: Huka Prawn Park (general park entry)
Time allowance: From 1 hour

Stay: Taupo

Places of interest

Huka Honey Hive

Huka Prawn Park

Day four

Experience the stunning scenic drive around the lake

Depart Taupo this morning and take the scenic journey around the lake edge to the southern end of Lake Taupo and the Tongariro River. World renowned for its spectacular trout fishing, the Tongariro River offers some of the most beautiful river scenery anywhere in the world.

Time allowance: 1 hour
Transfer time: Taupo town to Turangi – 55 minutes

A morning on the world renowned Tongariro River

If you’re feeling adventurous take a white water rafting adventure down the river. You will spend over two hours in this outback wilderness traversing sections of this beautiful river, only accessible by raft. Float through Jurassic looking landscapes and over 60 Grade 3 white water rapids, expertly led by your experienced guide. 

Alternatively, experience a gentler adventure with a Raft Fishing Experience on this spectacular River. Let your guide maneuver your raft through sections of the river that will take your breath away, before taking you to a crystal-clear pool for an exceptional fishing experience. For the experienced angler you can expect unspoiled runs with minimum angling pressure, and for the novice, your guide will assist with perfecting your technique to give you the best opportunity of landing the quality fish the Tongariro River is known for. 

Experience: Tongariro River Rafting (White Water Rafting or Raft Fishing
Time allowance: From 4 hours

Stay: Turangi

Places of interest

Tongariro River Rafting

Rafting New Zealand

Day five

Explore Tongariro National Park

Take a journey today into a very special environment. The Tongariro National Park holds Dual World Heritage Status that recognises its cultural and spiritual significance as well as its outstanding natural landscape. Home to the volcanoes of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings), today you will have the opportunity to explore this breath-taking landscape. Take a private guided hike through this beautiful wilderness. Your guide will select a trail suitable to your fitness level and abilities and may incorporate sections of the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or will guide you to spectacular waterfalls, hidden lakes, or silica rapids.

Experience: Adrift Tongariro or Backyard Tours
Time allowance: 1/2 day
Transfer time: Tongariro National Park to Whakapapa Ski Area - 25 minutes

Reach the clouds on the Sky Waka Gondola

At the conclusion of your hike, take the brand-new Sky Waka Gondola on Mt Ruapehu to visit New Zealand’s highest café, the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Enjoy a coffee or wine on the upstairs deck or settle in for a meal by one of the huge floor to ceiling windows overlooking The Pinnacles.

This is the perfect location to reflect on your time in the Central North Island and begin planning your next visit.

Experience: Mt Ruapehu (Sky Waka Gondola - Whakapapa)
Time allowance: From 1 hour

Places of interest

Half Day Tongariro Alpine Guided Group Walk meet at Adrift Tongariro Base

Sky Waka, Mt Ruapehu

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