This blog was last updated in May 2021.
Well, that’s great. And you know what? You’re not alone. 11.35% of our guests head to Taupo when they leave our fine patch. Not only that, you can actually base yourself in Rotorua and do a day trip to Taupo, it is only 81 kms, or a 1 hour drive each way. Easy Peasy!
So what is there to do, well let us help you out with our best picks from Taupo.
It is surprising how much you can fit into a day trip when you get out of bed early.
- Aratiatia Rapids – Is the stretch of water after the Aratiatia Dam where the Waikato River falls 28 metres in 1 Kilometre. Get to one of the look outs high above the rock cliffs just before the dam is due to be released (Dam release is at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm), and once released, watch the rapids roar into life. This was also the shooting location of the barrel scene in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’.
- Huka Falls – A further 8 km up stream from Aratiatia Rapids you will find the most photographed natural attraction in New Zealand, Huka Falls. Explore the walking tracks, to give you a different perspective from each viewing platform, from the bridge over the gorge, the view from above, then the viewing spot from below the waterfall. You get to appreciate what a flow of 220,000 litres of water per second looks, sounds and feels like. The viewing platforms are easily accessible, only a short 5 minutes stroll from the carpark.
- Mt. Tauhara – Just outside of Taupo you will find the 1,088m above sea level, Mt. Tauhara. A 2.5 hour return walking trip, on a clear day will reward you of views over the entire Taupo region including the Tongariro National Park. Be prepared for the cold, at the top when the wind blows it can get bitterly cold.
- Maori Rock Carvings – Situated near Mine bay on lake Taupo and only a short paddle from Acadia Bay, explore the Maori Rock Carvings by kayak with Taupo Kayaking Adventures. The carvings were completed in 1980 after 4 years of sculpting. The kayak tours take 4 hours to complete.
- Otumuheke Stream, Spa Park – After a big day of adventure (and exercise), nothing beats sinking into a free nature hot pool. Otumuheke Stream winds its way through a series of natural hot pools to merge into Waikato River. Find your ideal temperature as the pools cool the lower you get, before becoming a large swimming hole on the side of the river. There are no facilities on the rivers edge, so get changed at the toilets at the carpark before heading down for a soak.
- Great Lake Trail – Take you bike and go exploring some of the most remote shoreline of Lake Taupo. This 71 km trail, takes you from the lake through to deep native bush and combines the most amazing views of the surround area. The trail is a Grade 3 (intermediate) and is broken into 3 sections, do the whole trail over a couple of days or just choose one sections for an epic day adventure