The 15 Perfect Issues To Do in Taupo – By no means Finishing Footsteps

Taupo is one among my favorite spots on New Zealand’s North Island.

I’m lucky to have visited this bustling lakeside city 3 times now and each and every time, I’ve come away promising to go back. There’s simply one thing about New Zealand’s lakes that feels so therapeutic for me.

Not too long ago, I made up our minds to talk over with after finishing the Lake Waikaremoana Nice Stroll (there’s every other lake!), and Taupo equipped the very best position to get well, unwind, and get started getting again to truth.

I cherished it such a lot, in reality, that I returned 4 months later to spend every other couple of days putting out beside the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupo.

Taupo’s magnificent Huka Falls

What I Love About Taupo

So what do you want to learn about Taupo?

Smartly, I casually discussed above that Taupo is a lakeside city, however that’s more or less underselling Lake Taupo to you, as a result of this frame of water — the most important lake in New Zealand — is similar measurement as Singapore. It blew my thoughts after I realized simply how huge it’s, and I unexpectedly understood why everyone refers to it as the inland sea of New Zealand. On a windy day, when visibility is low, you’d be forgiven for pondering you have been status on a beach, searching out to sea.

In truth, Lake Taupo is the crater of an unlimited supervolcano, shaped after probably the most violent eruptions of the previous 5,000 years. After blowing all that it had into the ambience, the volcano promptly died out and the extinct crater crammed itself with water. This present day, the lake is fed from a relentless movement of water from the within reach snow-capped mountains.

And whilst Lake Taupo is now way more sedate than it used to be previously, proof of the world’s geothermal process surrounds the city. You’ve were given geysers, scorching springs, and cool colors scattered around the panorama, and as you stand beside the waterfront, you’ll be not able to take your eyes off the trio of volcanoes within the distance.

Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu are all visual from Taupo, they usually make for specifically spectacular perspectives around the lake. And talking of Mount Tongariro — you’ll’t overlook the Tongariro Crossing, which has been heralded as New Zealand’s absolute best one-day hike. After having finished it long ago in 2013, I will’t disagree with the overview.

If there’s something Taupo is most renowned for, alternatively, it’s its journey actions. Whether or not it’s jet boating, bungy leaping, parasailing, or skydiving, there’s one thing for all adrenaline fans, and vacationers arrive on the town on a daily basis, in search of their subsequent repair.

If, like me, you have a tendency to hit the skip button on the subject of journey shuttle, you’ve nonetheless were given the small-town vibe of Taupo to take in, plus the handfuls of lovely nature trails and the lake to take a seat beside with fish and chips in hand. One in every of my favorite actions in Taupo is strolling out to the magnificent Huka Falls and marvelling on the sheer energy this herbal phenomenon generates.

On this put up, I’m going to be sharing all of my favorite issues to do in in Taupo.

(A word for my many American readers: costs on this put up are indexed in New Zealand Bucks — on the time of writing, 100 NZD is round 70 USD.)

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I like the turquoise colors of the water at Huka Falls

Stroll Out to Huka Falls

I will’t write about Taupo with out bringing up Huka Falls.

This tough waterfall is the maximum visited herbal appeal within the entirety of New Zealand, and for excellent explanation why: it’s significantly spectacular! What it lacks in peak, status at simply 11 metres tall, it makes up for in energy, as a whopping 220,000 litres of water barrels over it each 2nd. In case you, like me, battle to conceptualise that quantity of water, let me inform you that it’s sufficient to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in simply 11 seconds.

The very best strategy to revel in the falls is from the bridge crossing over them, together with the numerous within reach viewpoints scattered alongside the water’s edge. And whilst you’ll power out to the falls, I like to recommend strolling as an alternative.

It takes an hour to finish the trek from Spa Park to the falls, alongside the Huka Falls Path, and it’s such a fantastic path, weaving along the local wooded area, and I cherished listening to the roar of the water getting louder with each and every step. In case you most effective have time to do something in Taupo, this must be it.

Jet Boating The entire Strategy to Huka Falls


In case you’re one of the most longest of long-time readers of By no means Finishing Footsteps, you could recall my fraught dating with jet boats. Again in 2013, I made up our minds to leap aboard the Huka Falls Jet with out such a lot of a bent of what jet boats even have been. The end result? Smartly, I printed a photograph essay of the ensuing trauma for all to peer and chortle at.

However I’ve come far from that dramatic lady, and at the moment, I completely adore jet boats. Significantly — they’re such a lot amusing! And the Huka Falls Jet? It’s the rustic’s absolute best.

Whilst on board, you’ll race thru a picturesque gorge, coming inside inches of sheer rock face, and simply as you regain your composure, bounce immediately right into a 360-degree spin, ahead of getting proper up as regards to the waterfall itself, witnessing its energy from metres away.

It’s an action-packed journey, and also you’ll be speaking about it for days afterwards.

Skydiving within the Perfect Position to Do So

While you call to mind shuttle to New Zealand, you’re possibly fantasising about epic landscapes and adrenaline-fuelled actions. In Taupo, you’ll mix either one of those iconic attributes and bounce out of a airplane within the nation’s maximum skydived location. Sure, 30,000 folks skydive in Taupo each and every 12 months and for excellent explanation why.

You’ve were given pristine Lake Taupo, snow-capped volcanoes, and coast-to-coast perspectives of the pretty North Island, all thrown in in combination to make for a specifically adventurous bounce. There’s a reason Taupo is referred to as the skydiving capital of the sector.

And when you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, know that within reach Mt Ngauruhoe is Mount Doom from the flicks! There’s not anything extra badass than leaping from a airplane over that volcano.

A 12,000 toes bounce, with 40 seconds of freefall, is available in at slightly below 300 NZD. An 18,000 toes bounce with a whopping 75 seconds of freefall? That’s priced at $499.

Take a Scenic Flight Over the Volcanoes

If skydiving isn’t your factor, you’ll nonetheless rise up shut and private with the volcanoes from the air — by means of taking a scenic flight over them.

You’ve were given a few choices right here, with each helicopter and waft planes up for grabs and also you’ll be in a position to make a choice which space to peer ahead of you fly.

Pass take a look at Huka Falls from above, jump over the trio of snow-capped volcanoes to take a look at Mount Ruapehu’s volcanic lake — pictured above — or head out over the rainbow-coloured geothermal landscapes to peer them from a special approach. Hell, you’ll even join a scenic flight over White Island — New Zealand’s notorious energetic volcano that erupted in 2019, killing 22 guests — when you’re feeling specifically daring.

Guide your floatplane revel in with Taupo Floatplane (costs ranging from $109) or your helicopter journey with Inflite Reports (costs from $195).

Test Out the McDonald’s in a Aircraft

Talking of planes, Taupo is the one position on the earth the place you’ll devour a McDonald’s inside of a airplane with out attracting a healthy dose of side-eye from the folks round you.

The decommissioned DC-3 airplane has been on website for 30 years now, having been bought by means of McDonald’s long ago in 1990. Seating 20 diners, it nonetheless has the unique cockpit within the airplane, and it makes for a specifically attention-grabbing position to devour your Large Mac.

Let’s face it: none people move on vacation to devour McDonald’s, however when you’re with a yearning, it is a distinctive position on the town to fulfill it.

The Best Water-Contact Bungy Leap

Taupo is all in regards to the journey actions, so that you shouldn’t be stunned to be informed it’s house to New Zealand’s easiest water-touch bungy bounce. Now not most effective that, it’s additionally New Zealand’s most effective clifftop bungee bounce!

Positioned above the pristine Waikato River, you’ll pay world-famous bungy-jumping corporate AJ Hackett simply $120 to bop down into the ones refreshing waters. You’ll bounce on my own or with a chum, and you’ll additionally select if you wish to be dunked within the river or stay dry. However the place’s the joys within the latter?

If bungy leaping isn’t your factor, AJ Hackett additionally operates a large swing in the similar location. Connected to a rope that’s virtually 50 metres lengthy, you’ll jump from that clifftop and to find your self attaining speeds of as much as 70km/h as you swing backward and forward over the turquoise river. Badass.

Test Out the Maori Carvings at Mine Bay

Now, that is specifically superior!

Out on Lake Taupo, there’s a place referred to as Mine Bay, and in that bay, you’ll discover a fresh Maori rock carving, 14 metres prime, etched into the rock. I word that they’re somewhat contemporary, versus historical, as a large number of folks finally end up disenchanted once they uncover they have been finished in 1980. Nonetheless, I feel they’re beautiful rattling cool-looking.

Mine Bay is most effective out there by means of water, so your 3 choices for seeing them are by means of cruise ($35), yacht ($49), or by means of kayak ($115). The latter will permit you to get a lot nearer, in order that’s what I like to recommend. However whichever vessel you select, the carvings are significantly spectacular and well-worth heading out to.

Hike Mount Tauhara

In case you’re searching to stick energetic whilst you’re in Taupo, there are such a lot of nature trails and hikes to set out on.

One in every of my favourites, regardless that, is the hike to the highest of Mount Tauhara. Now an extinct volcano, its dome form supplies a killer exercise — in a great way — and the perspectives from the highest, searching over the nation-state are gorgeous. The trail could be a little sketchy at time, with tree roots and rocks to stumble over, however it’s not anything too difficult.

The path is two.5 kilometres in period — a technique — and climbs round 500 metres in elevation. It takes two or 3 hours to take on the go back go back and forth, relying on how are compatible you’re — simply head to Mount Tauhara automotive park to start out your stroll.

Fish and Chips Via the Lake

One in every of my favorite night actions in Taupo is wandering over to a fish and chip store, grabbing a takeaway, and consuming it sitting on a patch of sunny grass, searching out around the lake.

Tasty Fish and Chips is my go-to position, because it’s proper beside the water.

A parasailer on Lake Taupo, with the volcanoes silhouetted within the a ways distance

Parasail at the Lake

Whilst you’re having your fish and chips, you’ll definitely realize the collection of folks taking to the sky. Parasailing is large in Taupo, and it’s uncommon to peer the water with out any person hovering prime above its waters.

While you’re 1,000 ft up over the lake, you’ll acquire a brand new viewpoint of Taupo city whilst concurrently having the ability to glance the entire strategy to the ones volcanoes that I stay banging on about.

Large Sky Parasail fees $95 in step with particular person for a tandem flight. They may be able to additionally throw in an freefall — don’t fear, it’s not obligatory. From their site:

We’ve got perfected the Parasail Freefall, which is the artwork of forestalling the boat and letting you parachute 40 tales all the way down to the water. Prior to you’re making touch, alternatively, we’ll get started the engine and also you’ll be whisked again up into the sky. We love to name it Taupo’s quickest elevator! It’s now not as horrifying because it sounds; it’s extra of a gradual, surrealistic feeling. When requested, everybody says that is the most efficient a part of their flight.

Do with that data what you’ll.

Aratiatia Dam Water Unlock

In case you’re on a decent finances and in search of some unfastened actions to fill your time in Taupo, glance no additional that the Aratiatia Dam liberate. This works specifically nicely with the stroll from Spa Park to Huka Falls — when you proceed down the similar path, you’ll finally end up on the Aratiatia Rapids.

Water is launched thru this dam a couple of occasions an afternoon. In summer season, it’s at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and four p.m., whilst in iciness, it’s at 10, 12, and a pair of.

It takes round two hours to achieve the dam from Spa Park — now not together with time for taking pictures — so I’d purpose to go away Spa Park round 3 hours ahead of the water liberate. At 11 a.m. for the two p.m. liberate, as an example.

If 4 hours of strolling feels like your thought of hell, no worries. You’ll power to the dam, as an alternative.

So what’s so particular about it?

When the gates to the dam open, you’ll be capable to watch in awe as a relaxed, slender movement instantly transforms into turbulent rapids, with water gushing previous at 80,000 litres in step with 2nd. Fifteen mins later, the spill gates are closed and the tranquil movement returns. It’s beautiful wild to get to witness the facility of nature like that.

There’s a number of nice viewpoints for staring at the water liberate — the general public choose to face at the bridge beside the dam, however I like to recommend venturing alongside the quick strolling path to achieve a greater vantage level.

In case you haven’t but had sufficient journey in Taupo, I like to recommend leaping at the Rapids Jet to really feel the energy of the Aratiatia Rapids up shut. When the dam gates open, you’ll be proper in the midst of the motion, at the river, powering throughout the surges and entirely experiencing the forces of the water.

And in spite of everything, when you’re partial to all issues Tolkien, probably the most scenes from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have been filmed proper right here within the rapids — specifically, the scene when escaping dwarves concealed out in barrels which have been then thrown downstream.

Hit the Cycle Trails

Taupo is a smart position to get your biking on, with dozens upon dozens of trails which can be ready to be explored. Even higher: it’s an process you’ll partake in year-round, because the free-draining pumice soil stays dry, even in the midst of iciness.

I like to recommend Craters Mountain Motorcycle Park, which is house to 55 kilometres of trails, all winding thru a pine plantation and providing up a mixture of amateur routes and hardcore choices.

There are many in a single day choices, too — from the 71 km Nice Lake Path, which encompasses the western shores of Lake Taupo, to the 85 km Bushes Path, which follows the trail of outdated logging roads, interspersed with a chain of exhilerating suspension bridges.

You’ll even take on the path that leads from Spa Park to Aratiatia Dam by means of Huka Falls comfortably — we met heaps of cyclists on our stroll out to the falls.

Get Your Trout On

Let’s face it: I’m a ways from a fishing enthusiast, and but I will’t write about Taupo with out bringing up the truth that the rivers surrounding Lake Taupo make this space the trout fishing capital of the sector.

Sure, in reality.

Other people shuttle from all over the place to take a look at their hand at fly fishing in one of the most space’s six rivers. Most well liked is the Tongariro River, the place you’ll try to catch rainbow trout and brown trout — there’s detailed data on NZ Fishing, when you’re . You’ll even shuttle into the backcountry for a fishing-themed journey, hitting up probably the most rivers which can be most effective out there by means of helicopter.

In case you’re travelling with youngsters, take them over to the Tongariro Nationwide Trout Centre, the place there’s a kids’s fishing pond filled with trout for them to take a look at catching. Our nephew completely cherished attempting his hand at this and he nonetheless can’t prevent speaking in regards to the time he stuck a fish and ate it for dinner that evening! The trout centre will thankfully fillet and smoke your child’s catch of the day, able to devour, with the choice of turning it right into a sandwich with freshly-baked ciabatta. So amusing!

Discover the Geothermal Process

If, like me, you’re keen on your geothermal wonders, you’ll have masses to stay you busy whilst you’re in Taupo.

The highly-active Orakei Korako used to be described by means of Lonely Planet as “arguably the most efficient geothermal space left in New Zealand”, and I cherished wandering round its dust swimming pools, scorching springs, 35 geysers, and vibrant silica terraces. To get there, you’ll take a ferry throughout Lake Ohakuri, then walk alongside the boardwalks crossing over the thermal landscapes. One of the most coolest portions of the world is Ruatapu Cave, one among most effective two caves on the earth recognized to exist in a geothermal box — within the cave, you’ll discover a vertical drop of 25 metres, to a shallow pool of clean, heat acid water, referred to as the Pool of Mirrors. Front is round $40 in step with particular person.

You’ve additionally were given the Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Well being Spa, the waters of that have been utilized by Maori for his or her therapeutic homes for centuries. This present day, I like to recommend spending part an afternoon dipping out and in of 3 mineral-rich scorching swimming pools, then wander over to the silica terraces for a Pamukkale-esque revel in.

And you’ll’t overlook Craters of the Moon! It’s an epic walkway thru barren, moon-like landscapes, with effervescent dust swimming pools, steaming craters, and vibrant soil.

If it used to be all the way down to me and I may just most effective move to 1 position for geothermal process in Taupo, I like to recommend Orakei Korako. It’s extra spectacular than Craters of the Moon, in my view. Whilst Orakei Korako is dearer, you do get extra to your cash general.

The Perfect Day Journeys From Taupo

The Tongariro Crossing
My favorite standpoint of the Tongariro Crossing. Sure, that’s Mt. Doom for all of my LotR lovers!

Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Heralded as New Zealand’s biggest one-day stroll, the Tongariro Crossing is a in reality outstanding hike. I imply, simply take a look at that other-worldly surroundings! As a rule, I felt as regardless that I used to be strolling at the moon as I skirted previous energetic volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, and glistening emerald lakes.

It’s a difficult trek, coming in at 20 kilometres, or 12 miles, and hiking as much as virtually 2,000 metres in altitude, so it’ll take the whole lot of an afternoon to finish. Allocate between seven and 9 hours, relying to your health talents.

And That Was once Taupo!

I like Taupo and imagine it’s well-worth including in your North Island itinerary. You’ve were given the non violent lake, the epic volcanoes, the geothermal process, and a lot of adrenaline actions. What’s to not love?

I will’t wait to go back.

Does Taupo Sound Like Your Roughly Position?

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