The town of Taupo sits on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo and this beautiful and serene body of water is reason enough to visit. The lake is actually a volcanic caldera formed following a massive eruption in the year 186 and is considered to be one of the most massive and violent eruptions known. Overlooking the lake are the cones of long extinct volcanoes, further evidence of the regions fiery past. To the south-west Mt. Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park can be seen. The town itself is a lively place with many shops, bars and cafes all catering for the traveller and visitor.
A whole host of activities can be undertaken here such as bungy jumping, sky diving, fishing for trout in the lake and rivers, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and walking and hiking to name but a few.
Stop in at the quirky L'Arte Cafe and Gallery, home to the famous mosaic outdoor living room and the well-recognised ‘Alice’s Chair’ sculpture.
Just to the north of the town centre is the Wairakei geothermal power station and a little further north is Craters of the Moon, a geothermal wonderland where you can explore colourful sulphurous lakes, bubbling mud pools and hot water geysers from the safety of boardwalks. The nearby Huka Falls are a spectacular sight and a jet boat ride will give you a very exciting ride to view the thundering water from below.
The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of full 360 degree spins. The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view to New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you.
The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat. This unique Geothermal Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand's longest river flowing north from our largest lake, Lake Taupō.
Located a few minutes north of Taupō is this geothermal park is known as "Craters of the Moon". There are well marked walkways with interpretive boards to guide you through one of the region's many active volcanic parks.
The North Island of New Zealand and Taupo specifically provides some of the most spectacular fly fishing in the world. Your specialist fly fishing guide has the local knowledge and expertise to show you how and where to fulfil your dreams of catching a Rainbow or Brown Trout. Whether you're a novice or long-time fishermen you're sure to enjoy your Taupo fly fishing experience. There are many streams and rivers flowing in and out of Lake Taupo and your guide will take you to the area most suitable to your abilities and time constraints.
Includes: Full day guided fly fishing, (8 hours including travel time) transport, licences, lunches, waders, fishing tackle. You will be met at your accommodation by your experienced guide. The full day gives you the opportunity to fish the world renowned Tongariro River. On the rivers "catch and release" is encouraged, however there are still some great photo opportunities.
Your half day charter includes a 4 hour private charter on stunning Lake Taupo and delicious luncheon on board with wine and beverages. Stop and see the Maori rock carvings - only accessible by water. Swimming is available during the summer months and clay target shooting is available on request if conditions are suitable. You can also try your hand at trout fishing (optional).
Ranked in 2013 in the Top 100 in the World by Golf Course Architecture Magazine, The Kinloch Club was also rated on opening in 2007 as the top new golf course outside North America by the prestigious US Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine. The Golden Bear visited Kinloch to oversee construction of his signature Championship golf course and returned to The Kinloch Club in February of 2008 to play the course for the first time since completion. Jack was extremely happy with how his vision had come to fruition and was greatly impressed with the maturity of the golf course after it's 'grow in' stage. The Kinloch Club (Nicklaus signature golf course) is the only Nicklaus designed golf course in New Zealand.
Departing from the Taupo Marina, climb aboard the 52 ft catamaran Cruise Cat and cruise in comfort and style through Lake Taupo's stunning bays, on a 90-minute journey culminating in a close-up view of the famous Maori Rock Carvings. Enjoy the live commentary as you savour delicious homemade muffins and a hot drink. Sit back and unwind in the comfortable booth seating with viewing platforms on two levels. There are tons of activities for kids on board, and some epic photo opportunities.
Your next activity of the day is The Huka Jet.30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of full 360-degree spins. The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view of New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you. The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat.
Taupo Golf Club offers golfers a unique golfing experience with two 18 hole golf courses on offer year round, along with modern facilities and services to provide you with a wonderful golfing experience in Taupo. Their courses are located close to Taupo township and situated in a mature park setting amongst thermal activity and under the eye of Mt Tauhara. For more details see www.taupogolf.co.nz
Lake Taupo has a massive capacity of approximately 59 cubic kilometres and its only outlet is the Waikato River. At Huka, just north of the town centre the Waikato River is forced through a narrow volcanic rock chasm. The resulting spectacle is compounded as this massive volume of water surges towards the falls. A jet boat ride is a fun and thrilling way to see this geographic wonder or a short walk from the car park will position you onto a viewing platform. Close to the falls (look for the signs) is the Prawn Farm and here you can enjoy a prawn feast.
Enter a world where elegant and generous hospitality meets sophistication and style - creating a welcoming haven. Founded in the 1920s, Huka Lodge is considered to be The iconic New Zealand retreat.
The rooms are harmonious and deliberately simple in approach, designed to allow the beauty of the landscape to dominate, while providing soft light and layers of luxury.
Activities available within the Lodge include tennis, petanque and croquet. There is a swimming pool and two spa pools and for the adventurous mountain bikes and helmets are available for your use. There are a range of spa treatments available, please enquire at reception for current prices.
Cuisine continues to define the iconic nature of the experience at Huka Lodge. Over the years Huka Lodge has been fortunate to have had many outstanding chefs, cooking superb food for its guests. The tradition of generous and fine hospitality is deeply embedded within the Huka Lodge philosophy and the quality of this bears testament to our commitment.
Current Executive Chef, Michel Louws, comes from a prestigious history of Michelin ranked restaurants, including his last role as Head Chef of T-Veerhuis in the Netherlands which achieved 1 Michelin star during his tenure.
Cruise the spectacular Great Lake Taupo to the remarkable Maori Rock Carvings and around the picturesque bays of Lake Taupo. Your captain will provide an informative and entertaining commentary on the volcanic creation of Lake Taupo and the Maori mythology of the region. Marvel at the amazing views of hidden bays and the spectacular snow-capped mountain peaks of Tongariro National Park. Your boat is fully enclosed so you will stay warm while still being able to take those fantastic holiday pictures.
Rapids Jet blasts up the Aratiatia rapids giving visitors a 35-minute whitewater jet boating experience. The ride heads to the Aratiatia Power Station to the base of New Zealand's biggest and longest rapids that spill from the Aratiatia Dam daily.
Onboard, there’s a huge adrenalin rush as the professional driver then shoots through the narrowest canyon on the Waikato River to the Full James Rapids. The boat then plays in the pressure waves of the awesome Nga Awa Purua Rapids (river of springs).
Rapids Jet takes on the biggest commercially jet boated rapids in New Zealand. The impressive 500 horsepower Chevy V8 jet boats muscle up and down the whitewater rapids with ease and legendary jet boat spins are thrown in too.
The North island's most popular bungy jump is a real blast. The unique cantilever platform projects out from the cliff-top, above the inviting waters of the Waikato River below. Whether you choose to bungy solo or tandem, the highly trained crew pride themselves in providing you with an exhilarating and safe bungy experience. If you want to add even more thrills to your jump, why not try a water touch?
Your skydive begins with a scenic plane ride up to jump height. You’ll begin to get incredible views of Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe – also known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.
Once you’ve reached altitude, the doors will open, you’ll sit on the edge of the plane with your tandem master seated behind you. If it hasn’t already, the excitement will have well and truly kicked in by now! Get ready...it’s time to jump! As you plunge from the plane into the fresh air, you’ll experience the best adrenaline rush of your life! Reaching speeds of up to 200km per hour, the thrill of freefall is something you’ll never forget.
Taupo’s untouched ancient forests and swamplands, impressive geothermal wonderlands, and breath-taking volcanoes are crisscrossed with excellent walking and hiking tracks of all lengths and levels of difficulty. From pleasant lakefront and riverside strolls like the Great Lake Walkway and Huka Falls trails, through to the Tongariro River Trail and Lake Rotopounamu native bush walks ringing with birdsong.
Huka Falls Lookout Walk
Huka Falls is just a five minute drive north of Taupō, off SH1 on Huka Falls Road. From the Huka Falls carpark, it's just a 10 minute walk to cross the bridge over the falls and turn left. There are several lookout points on this easy access walk to take advantage of the views of the spectacular Huka Falls. The incredible volume of water tumbling over the falls is due to the Waikato River being forced through a channel of hard rock only 15m wide and 10m deep. The river emerges with a rush at the northern end to form the falls.
Spa Park to Huka Falls Walk
This walking track allows you to walk rather than drive to the Huka Falls from Taupō. Taking 1hour 30 minutes this 3km track is a pleasant walk for all ages, starting from Spa Park and winding along the banks of the Waikato River. From the car park walk five minutes down to the river's edge where you'll cross the Otumuheke Stream, a naturally hot stream which flows into the Waikato. The well-defined track then continues along the riverbank and offers lovely views along the way. Return via the same track or arrange transport from Huka Falls carpark.
Aratiatia Rapids Lookout Walk
These are the famous rapids used in the filming of the barrel escape scene in Peter Jackson's movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The Aratiatia Dam and Rapids are located on Aratiatia Road, off SH5 10 km north of Taupō. Taking just 10 minutes, the 620m track leads to the two lookout points begins 50 metres from the bridge on the true right of the river. Before the water was diverted to the power station in 1964, the Aratiatia Rapids were the largest in Australasia - the Waikato River dropping 28 metres in just one kilometre. Today their full potential can still be seen during the scheduled daily releases - 10 am; 12 noon; 2 pm (and also 4 pm 1 October - 31 March). Each release lasts 15 minutes.
Kawakawa Bay Tracks
The K2K and Orakau tracks both take you into the picturesque Kawakawa Bay; walk the trails separately, or link them together for a longer day out.
Kinloch to Kawakawa (K2K)
Time (one way): 2 hr walk, 9 km
The track to Kawakawa Bay begins at the western end of the beach to the right of the parking area. Glorious views feature as the track climbs from Whangamata Bay and sidles along the top of a broad cliff. The bush is dominated by rewarewa but look out for the giant matai too. Once you reach the rocky lookout the track winds down into Kawakawa Bay. Here there is a shelter, toilet and plenty of opportunities for a swim or lakeside picnic.
Return via the same track, or link with the Orakau trail.
Time (one way): 3 hr walk, 10 km
From the carpark on Whangamata Road, the trail follows the Orakau Stream and wetland through regenerating native bush down to the beach at Kawakawa Bay. The trail is generally downhill and offers views across Lake Taupō.
Return via the same track, or continue on to Kinloch via the K2K.
Departing from Taupo, this tour combines some of the North Island's most majestic alpine scenery with a remote landing in the Kaimanawa Range wilderness area. This truly amazing experience includes up close and stunning views of the World Heritage volcanoes; Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. Bring a camera to photograph Ruapehu's steaming Crater Lake, historic lava flows, inspiring glacial valleys and dramatic volcanic formations, some of which are only visible from the air. Continuing on, experience a remote wilderness landing to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the crystal clear Rangitikei River; home to trophy sized Rainbow Trout. Flights to and from this area, reveal breath-taking views of Lake Taupo and its surrounding environment. This tour will take approximately 90 minutes.
A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip. After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand. These tours allow you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, APP guidance plus local support mean your New Zealand vacation is in safe hands. See self drive ideas here
If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour might be for you. Our sister company at New Zealanbd Coach has a range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. Tours are limited to a certain number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgeable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See small group tours here.
A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgeable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. All our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide, so if it is what you fancy just contact us to discuss.
All North Island touring ideas - See here to explore the diverse North Island - itinerary suggestions.
All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See itinerary suggestions
All Nationwide touring ideas - See the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas