1. Hike up Mt Tauhara
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
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
Take a soak in the Spa Park hot pools at the start of the Spa Park walk. Ahot stream flows into the Waikato River naturally forming these hotpools at just the right temperature to bathe in. Walk upstream to find more hidden hot pools.
Location: Spa Park along Spa Road.
4. Free honey and mead tasting at the Huka Honey Hive
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?
Location: 65 Karetoto Road
5. Go to the coolest McDonald’s in the world!
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 for more details.
Location: 48 Roberts Street
6. Sit by Lake Taupo and eat fish and chips.
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.
7. Mingle with the locals at the Saturday Riverside Market
Held weekly from 10am to 1pm, the Riverside Market is a great place to find local produce, arts and crafts souvenirs for the family? and some scrummy food and drink.
Location: Riverside Park
8. Hang out at the Taupo Bungy place
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
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 at10 Awesome Bike Trails Around Lake Taupo.
10. Aratiatia Rapids
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. Craters of the Moon
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.