Top 10 Things to do in Taupo

Taupō is a very popular holiday destination in New Zealand. Taupō sits on the shore of a massive lake - Lake Taupō, formed 25,000 years ago by the one of the world's largest known volcanic eruptions. Attractions in Taupō include water-based activities, geothermal sightseeing, and many options for adrenaline junkies.

Here's a list of our top ten:

1) Experience White Water Rafting

Fancy some extreme paddling? White water rafting involves battling a series of foaming river rapids in a small, inflatable boat. It's incredibly fun, if a little cold. Around Taupō, you'll find different grades of rafting experiences for children and adults alike, all set within beautiful scenery. It's a must-try activity in New Zealand.

Tongariro River Rafting

Experience White Water Rafting

2) Visit the Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park

The Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako is a geothermal wonderland accessible only by boat. If you want to wander amongst geysers, mud pools and hot pools that look like they've been tie-dyed all sorts of psychedelic colours - not to mention New Zealand's only geothermal cave and some stunning silica terraces - this is the place.

The visitor centre is a twenty-five-minute drive from Taupō. Alternatively, you can get there by shuttle, by jet boat, or even by floatplane!

Orakei Korako Thermal Park

Visit the Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park

3) See the Huka Falls from a Jet Boat

The Huka Falls are heart-stoppingly powerful. The only thing better than viewing them from the bridge that crosses them is going right up to the base in a jet boat. It's one of the best jet boat rides in New Zealand. Experience the thrill of speeding and spinning along the mighty Waikato River.

Huka Falls Jet

See the Huka Falls from a Jet Boat

4) Walk around the Craters of the Moon

The Craters of Moon are a collection of mud pools and steam vents. The landscape they inhabit is eerily beautiful - never mind the moon - it feels like walking on the surface of another planet!

It's cheap to enter and takes about an hour to explore, but you'll probably want to take it a bit slower than that. The smell and feel of the steam wafting across your path make for quite a unique experience.

Craters of the Moon

Walk around the Craters of the Moon

5) Relax in a Geothermal Spa Pool

There are lots of natural hot pools to bathe in around Taupō. We recommend the Otumuheke Stream at Spa Thermal Park, or an evening at the DeBretts Hot Springs. The latter is adjacent to an excellent campground. One thing to remember when soaking in a geothermal spring is never put your head beneath the water!

Spa Thermal Park

Relax in a geothermal spa pool

6) Go Bungy Jumping

Forget the South Island - Taupō is home to New Zealand's highest bungy jump. It's a beautiful spot in which to take the plunge, right over the turquoise waters of the Waikato River. You can even opt to touch the water! If you're not quite brave enough to bungy, you could try the equally thrilling Cliffhanger swing instead.

Taupo Bungy & Swing

Go Bungy Jumping

7) Take a Cruise out to see the Maori Rock Carvings

If you only do one thing in Taupō, see the Māori Rock Carvings. Right on the edge of the water, the only way to view this breathtaking work of art is by boat.

There are a few different companies that will take you to them; which you choose depends on whether you want to go by kayak, steamboat or yacht. Perhaps our favourite option is the Ernest Kemp, a cute, little steamboat that serves complimentary wine and hot drinks.

Ernest Kemp Boat Cruise

Maori Rock Carvings

8) Ski down the side of a volcano

On the southern shore of Lake Taupō looms the Tongariro National Park. This breathtaking area contains three snow-capped volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

There are three ski fields located on Mount Ruapehu. If you've never been skiing before, it's generally recommended you choose the Whakapapa Ski Area, as it has some excellent beginner slops. The Turoa Ski area is higher up, though, so the season lasts slightly longer.

Tongariro National Park

Ski down the side of a volcano

9) Go skydiving

Taupō is a fantastic place to try skydiving, as you've got the vast expanse of blue lake to look down on, as well as the snow-capped volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park.

Taupo Tandem Skydiving

Go skydiving

10) Fish for your supper at the Huka Prawn Park

If you fancy doing something a bit different, or if you just love prawns, spend an afternoon at New Zealand's only prawn park! Feed baby prawns, have fun in a paddleboat, and try your luck at prawn fishing. If you catch any, you can either put them on ice and take them home, or you can have the on-site restaurant cook them then and there. Yum! Make sure you take a towel with you.

Huka Prawn Park

Fish for your supper at the Huka Prawn Park

List compiled by Abigail Simpson

Image Credits
White Water Rafting: Pukekoweka, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Orakei Korako: WJV&DB, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Huka Falls Jet Boat: Egghead06 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Craters of the Moon: Harro5. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
Geothermal Pool: David Broad, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Taupo Bungy: Robert Engberg. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Rock Carving: http://www.qfse.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 NZ, via Wikimedia Commons
Whakapapa: http://www.freephotogallery.info, CC BY-SA 3.0 NZ, via Wikimedia Commons
Skydiving: Robert Engberg. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Huka Prawn Park: Shawn the Prawn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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