Main attractions of the region
There are plenty of activities and things to do in the Great Lake Taupo region. This ‘Nature’s Ultimate Playground’ has everything from lake cruises to skydiving, free hot pools to cultural experience of the Maori rock carvings, fine dining to white water rafting.
Located just a short drive away from Taupo town, this thundering 11 meter high waterfall is the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand. When seeing this true highlight of nature you will understand the name of the waterfalls immediately - “huka” is the Maori word for 'foam'. Enjoy the walking tracks alongside the river and wander around the different viewing platforms, taking in the falls from all angles.
Maori Rock Carvings
A definite must-do when in Taupo is to visit the impressive 10 meters high Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay. The carvings may look like the remains of an ancient Maori village but were in fact created in the late 70s by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell as a gift to Taupo. Take a relaxing scenic cruise across the lake or get up close to the attraction on a kayaking tour to see the impressive Maori Rock Carvings.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Next up is yet another exciting highlight of the region: One of the most popular activities in the Tongariro National Park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, rated as ‘the best one day trek in New Zealand’ and listed by many as one of the 'top 10 day treks in the world'.
Walk amidst the volcanoes is a life-changing experience not to be missed. The diverse and dramatic scenery and unique land forms are spectacular and thrilling. Experience the excitement of seeing some of the most scenic and volcanically active areas of the Tongariro National Park.
Looking for an adventure? With the Great Lake Taupo region you have made the ideal choice! Being “Nature’s Ultimate Playground”, the Great Lake Taupo region is just teeming with adventure activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. Enjoy fast-paced jet boating, bungy jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, parasailing, high ropes and for those who love the challenge of the great outdoors – the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Hire a Lake Taupo fishing charter or take a lake cruise and spend the day relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views of Lake Taupo. Those who enjoy fishing should not pass up the opportunity to experience unbeatable trout fishing in Taupo or along the world famous Tongariro River in Turangi.
If you want something more active, try out water sports such as white water rafting, kayaking, para-sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding or stand up paddle boarding. After all that, you need a relaxing soak in one of Taupo’s hot pools. Unwind in any of Great Lake Taupo’s free or commercial thermal hot springs, perfect for rainy days and that much needed break.
Walks & Hikes
If walking or hiking is your thing, you’re in the right place. The Great Lake Taupo district is considered to have some of the best walking and hiking trails in the world. There are overnight or multi-day options with a backdrop of mountains, lakes and forests, where you can expect some great short and long walks.
One of the most popular walks is the Great Lake Walkway, also known as Lion’s Walk as it was created on the lake reserve by the Taupo Lions Club. This 10km shared walk and cycle track begins at the boat harbor, follows the path south along the Lake Terrace and finishes at 5 Mile Bay.
Another popular walking track is the 2hr return track from Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls. This well-defined track begins at the natural hot springs and winds along the riverbank, offering lovely views along the way. The walk finishes at the spectacular Huka Falls. A pleasant walk for the whole family; this walk can be linked with the Aratiatia Rapids Walk, which continues along the river to the Aratiatia hydro dam and rapids.
The Great Lake Taupo region offers some of the best mountain bike trails in the world, from gentle trails to demanding and more challenging rides. Moreover, many Great Lake Taupo mountain biking trails can be ridden year-round which has a lot to do with Taupo's free-draining soil conditions.
Enjoy true highlights of nature whilst biking here: Many of the mountain bike tracks follow beautiful bush trails, catching glimpses of the lake, rivers and mountains. There are many biking and cycling options for all ranges of fitness, experience and budgets.
Road cycling is also big in Great Lake Taupo, with up to 10,000 riders from New Zealand and over 20 countries across the globe taking part each year in New Zealand’s largest cycling event, the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
How to get there
Getting to the Great Lake Taupo region is fairly easy. The Taupo Airport is located just 8 km from the Taupo town centre and with hardly any traffic from the airport to town, you’ll be at your destination in a jiffy!
There are direct flights from Auckland and Wellington, or take a connecting flight to Taupo from any of the airports on Air New Zealand’s route. Alternatively, you could fly in to Rotorua Airport and drive to Taupo, which is around 50 minutes away. A shuttle service which seats up to 9 people, meets each scheduled flight and operates a door to door service.
There are no hotels located at the airport as there are plenty of accommodation options around the Great Lake Taupo region.