Taupō Travel Guide

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In the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, Taupō is a vibrant lakeside resort inside the expansive green caldera of the Taupō Volcano.

Taupō, New Zealand

From the powerful majesty of Huka Falls to the towering Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay on Lake Taupō or the naturally-heated geothermal pools at Wairakei Terraces, there is much to experience in stunning Taupō.

Top things to do in Taupō

Taupō is brimming with exciting and fun things to do. Hire a kayak for a leisurely paddle or take a scenic boat cruise around the secluded bays of Lake Taupō and see the impressive 14-metre high ancient Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay. If you’re after a more adrenaline-charged experience, enjoy the thrill of whitewater rafting or a white-knuckled jet boat ride. 

Mountain bike through rugged volcanic terrain and beautiful native bushland or try your hand fishing for brown or rainbow trout, which thrive in Taupō’s pristine rivers and lakes. Afterwards, unwind and relax in the healing waters of the renowned geothermal hot pools of the Lake Taupō hot springs.

Pack a picnic and head to the Huka Prawn Park, New Zealand’s uniquely prawn-themed adventure park, set on the Waikato River. Have fun on the water on aqua bikes and pedal boats, take a guided hatchery tour and learn how the prawns are grown, and later relax over a local craft beer and feast on giant freshwater prawns at Taupō’s only riverside restaurant.

Nature and wildlife

Formed within a giant crater created 1,800 years ago in a series of volcanic explosions, sparkling Lake Taupō is now a haven for native wildlife and birdlife with crystal clear waters and tranquil inlets. About the size of Singapore, Lake Taupō is often called the great inland sea and is the largest in New Zealand.

Nearby Huka Falls is a breath-taking must-see. From the viewing footbridge above, witness this epic force of nature as the Waikato River thunders down a narrow volcanic gorge before rushing over the falls into the pool 11m below. You can also experience the Falls below from a jet boat or a river cruise, or pack a picnic and explore the nearby walking trails on foot. 

Explore the ancient native forests, rocky river canyons and abundant walking trails of the Kaimanawa Forest Park, east of Lake Taupō. Hike to the top of Mt Urchin for spectacular alpine views, and keep an eye out for wild horses, sika and red deer that roam the park as well as native birds such as the famous kiwi.  

How to get there

Taupō is easily accessible by car, bus or plane, and is 280kms or a 3hr and 20min drive south of Auckland, and 370kms or just under 5 hours north of Wellington. A bus service runs from Auckland to Taupo, with the trip taking about 5 hours. There is also a small airport in Taupō, with daily flights from Auckland and Wellington.

Top things to do in Taupō

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