Taupo is the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, and with a diverse and unique natural landscape, there are few places that compare to the simply-breathtaking natural wonders that are found here. The geothermal activity of the underlying plates creates an ever-changing landscape that can be both enchanting and formidable, with steaming vents, bubbling mud lagoons, rainbow-coloured silica terraces and rejuvenating hot springs and mineral pools dotted around the area. The impressively powerful Huka Falls are a sight to behold, pouring nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second over the 11m drop, but if you prefer a calmer water experience, head out onto the waters of Lake Taupo (New Zealand’s largest lake) where you’ll find crystal clear water and some pretty unique contemporary artwork carved into a cliffside.
Taupo offers something for everyone – thrill-seekers can get their fix with an array of activities to boost the heart rate, with rafting, bungy jumping and zorbing popular Taupo activities. For those who prefer a relaxing holiday, the mineral pools and natural hot springs are fantastic for winding down and there are some amazing luxury lodges for an indulgent Taupo minibreak. You will find some of the best fishing in the country in the Taupo region, and if you’re a golfer, you’ll find incredible courses to enjoy, including a Jack Nicklaus signature course at Kinloch.
In the summer months, Lake Taupo is filled with visitors getting out on the water with boats, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards dotted along the horizon, and swimmers enjoying the clear waters along the bay. Above the lake paragliders and skydivers get their pulses racing and their adrenaline fix. Hiking is very popular, and summer is the perfect season to enjoy long walks through the shady native bush or even head to the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike. The more gentle lakeside trails are bustling with visitors, and there is a selection of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy dining al fresco. Cycling is also popular in the summer months, and there are some beautiful trails to explore. If you are a keen fisherman (or want to learn) the trout in the rivers are in prime condition in summer, so make sure you book a guide and head out for some of the best fly fishing in New Zealand.
Autumn brings crisp mornings, followed by warm days and star-filled nights, and is the perfect season to relax and indulge the senses. A perfect Autumn day in Taupo might be a beautiful hiking or biking trip to explore the autumn colours and natural wonders of Taupo followed by an indulgent lunch sampling garden-to-plate dining at one of the many restaurants in the area. The day might finish with a long soak in a geothermal hot spring, or an afternoon cruising on the lake, looking for fishing spots or seeing the sights.
Autumn is also great for golf, so if that’s more your thing, gather your friends and start planning for a golfing holiday you’ll never forget – we can even arrange some luxury accommodation directly on the course.
In winter, Taupo is a great base to access the ski areas at Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino with skiing, snowboarding, and sledding slopes to suit all ages and skill levels and what better way to soak your tired ski legs than in one of the local geothermal hot pools?! If you’re not into skiing, there is normally no snow to lake level, so all of the activities in the town continue year-round (you might just require a few extra layers to keep away the winter chills).
Even when it’s raining, there are still plenty to keep you busy: browse Taupo’s boutiques and art galleries, catch a film at the cinema, or just relax at a restaurant, cafe or bar with a locally brewed craft beer and a delicious meal while waiting for the skies to reveal their stars again.
The Mt Ruapehu ski areas stay open later than anywhere else in Australasia, with Whakapapa usually open until the end of October. The slightly softened snow conditions and forgiving warmer spring weather are perfect for learners and kids.
Thanks to the free-draining, pumice-rich soils of the region, the trails around the forests and lake dry quickly and are ready by Spring for hiking and biking on the mild, clear days. Under the soft, spring light, forest walks, scenic cruises and days on the golf course are even more beautiful than usual, especially with new leaves sprouting on the trees, and spring flowers in blossom. The trout are waking up too, and ready to start biting in the back-country rivers and streams.
Taupo Airport (TUO) offers domestic flights from the major cities of NZ and landing of private charters and is located just a 10-minute drive from the town. Taupo is an easy drive from all of the main centres in the North Island of New Zealand including Auckland (3.5 hrs), Hamilton (2 hrs), Napier (2 hrs), Rotorua (1 hr) and Wellington (4.5 hrs).
During these dates, when the town fills with visitors, it will pay to plan ahead and book early to avoid disappointment:
A selection of some of our favourite places to dine out for a special treat:
Taupo is a relaxed destination but if you’d like to enjoy some activities whilst visiting, some of the most popular options are:
With an abundance of day hikes around the local area, we suggest popping into the local Department of Conservation office when you arrive to discuss the current status of tracks and which would be best suited to your fitness level. Some of the more popular short hikes and day hikes include:
If you’d like some help planning a Taupo holiday, you can browse our luxury Taupo properties here or contact us now to discuss your needs and we’ll do all the hard work for you.