Free and Cheap Activities in Taupo
Love the great outdoors? Then you’ll love what the North Island city of Taupo has to offer! With so many pricey adrenaline activities to entice your adventurous side, you’ll want to balance things out with some free things to do in Taupo. Let us help you out with that!
The township and the surrounding area of Taupo is a haven for walkers, hikers and mountain bikers. See the largest lake in New Zealand running into a narrow river gorge creating dramatic rapids and waterfalls, the geothermal activity also creates natural hot pools to relax in, and so much more fun free things to do in Taupo! The locals are pretty friendly here by offering free honey tastings but don’t forget to enjoy the simple things in life like fish n’ chips and eating McDonald’s on an aeroplane. If you just want to skip onto the good stuff, take a look at 10 Taupo Must-Dos.
All right, ready for the best Taupo activities? We do you one better here are some of the best free and cheap things to do in Taupo!
1. Hike Up Mt Tauhara – FREE
The most popular of all the free Taupo activities takes you high above the town. A 15min drive out of town along State Highway 5 can bring you to the base of the Mt Tauhara walk. It’s not the most well-kept of trails so expect a bit of scrambling, which is arguably more exciting than a maintained track. Nevertheless, the beautiful bush walks leading to views of Taupo and over to Mt Tongariro are sensational on a clear day is well worth the climb!
2. Visit Huka Falls – FREE
There is nothing like watching more than 200,000 litres of water plummet through the narrow gap every second. Huka Falls is 1.6km north of Taupo, which can easily be accessed by bus, car or by taking the Spa Park walk along the Waikato River. Find out more about the walk at 10 Wonderful Walks Around Lake Taupo.
Location: 5.3km from Taupo. Take the Thermal Explorer Highway for approximately 3.4km and turn right onto the Huka Falls Road.
3. Relax in a Natural Spa Pool at Otumuheke Stream – FREE
Take a soak in the Spa Park hot pools at the start of the Spa Park walk. A hot stream flows into the Waikato River naturally forming these hot pools at just the right temperature to bathe in. Walk upstream to find more hidden hot pools. Newly renovated, this is a free activity, yes, but also the most popular of all Taupo activities, be early in summer!
Location: Spa Park along Spa Road.
4. Free Honey and Mead Tasting at the Huka Honey Hive – FREE
Near Huka Falls is the Huka Honey Hive. The store offers free tasting of honey, mead (honey wine), and skincare products to try. Obviously, don’t taste the latter. You can also see the bees at work in glass hives. Who knew honey could be such an attraction? Plus it is definitely one of the most budget activities in Taupo since it is well… free!
Location: 65 Karetoto Road
5. Go to the Coolest McDonald’s in the World – CHEAP
We feel a little ashamed to get excited about eating at McDonald’s but just look at it it’s a freakin’ aeroplane! However, if you really do want to get up in the sky (and fall down again), did you know that Taupo is the cheapest place in New Zealand to do a skydive? Check out Taupo Tandem Skydiving on Viator or Tripadvisor for more details.
Location: 48 Roberts Street
6. Sit by Lake Taupo and Eat Fish and Chips – CHEAP
Or as the locals say Fush n’ Chups. Discover why Kiwi’s are so fond of this takeaway meal! Check out some of the cheapest fish and chips deals in our Cheap Eats in Taupo. Out of all Taupo attractions that’s the most kiwi one!
7. Mingle with the Locals at the Saturday Market – FREE
Still wondering what to do in Taupo on a budget? Go to the market! Held weekly from 10am to 1pm at the Nukahau Shopping Centre, the Taupo Market is a great place to find local produce, arts and crafts souvenirs for the family? and some scrummy food and drink.
Location: Nukahau Shopping Centre, 150 Acacia Bay Road
8. Hang Out at the Taupo Bungy Place – FREE
One of the popular Taupo attractions offers free entertainment all day long! With an awesome view of the Waikato River valley and the entertainment of watching people bungy jump, Taupo Bungy is actually a pretty cool place to take a break.
9. Go Biking Around Lake Taupo – FREE/CHEAP
Taupo is a great place to get on your bike as the trails tend to be well maintained and due to the draining pumice soil surface, the trails have little or no mud. Biking in Taupo combines seeing and doing with trails through forests, around Lake Taupo and along the Waikato River. For more information, take a look at 10 Awesome Bike Trails Around Lake Taupo. It’s another local’s favourite amongst all the activities in Taupo.
10. Check Out the Aratiatia Rapids – FREE
Rapids are a big thing in Taupo. To view some more dramatic water splashing, head to Aratiatia Dam, which releases the Waikato River for hydroelectric power several times a day. Release times are 10am, 12pm, 2pm in winter and 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm in summer.
Location: Aratiatia Rd, Rotokawa – just off State Highway 5. 12km from Taupo.
11. Experience the Geothermal Activity of Craters of the Moon – CHEAP
Not only does this geothermal park have a badass name, but it is one of the cheapest geothermal parks in the Taupo and Rotorua area at NZ$8 per person. Walk to craters and watch the earth steaming!
Location: 7km from Taupo. Signposted off State Highway 5.
12. Go Camping – FREE
Wrapping up our list of things to do Taupo on a budget is mother nature herself! Taupo is an extremely camper-friendly location with some great free places to spend the night. Enjoy a night alongside the Waikato River at Reids Farm Campground or on the lakefront at Five Mile Bay. For more information, see Where to Camp in Taupo and 5 Free Camping Spots in Taupo.
Now That You Have Seen All the Free Things to Do in Taupo …
… Take a look at more Taupo goodness:
That’s it for our list of cheap and free things to do in Taupo. Find more free stuff in the 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand.