10 Taupo Must-Dos
Things you can’t miss in Taupo.
Fun, adrenalin, scenery and relaxation: you will find it all in Taupo. The North Island town on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake has the perfect view of the volcanoes that depict Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. But that’s not all the natural features worth seeking out, as you can find thermal pools and the roaring rapids of Huka Falls. Furthermore, adventure activities are never too far from this “North Island Adrenaline Capital”. Skydive, raft and bungy jump your way to heart-pumping thrills!
With all these “must-dos” Taupo is an unmissable pit stop when backpacking in New Zealand. For more things to do in Taupo, see Taupo – Guide for Backpackers.
1. Do it all with a totally Taupo Combo
Great Lake Taupo is impressive from its very waters to the sky, so why not do both?! Start your day with a boat cruise to the famous Maori Rock Carvings, then take a scenic flight over New Zealand’s largest lake and beyond by helicopter landing near Huka Falls where you’ll jump on a jet boat and speed right up to the powerful rapids themselves! If that’s not enough adventure for one day in Taupo then we don’t know what is! Check out the Totally Taupo Combo on the Inflight Experiences website.
2. WALK AROUND THE CRATERS OF THE MOON
The high-pressure sulfurous steam underground creates fumaroles all around this deserted land. Stay on the path and witness the power of the earth for a very small entry price.
3. RAFT the TONGARIRO RIVER
Ok, technically this one is not in Taupo but in nearby Turangi, however, daily free pick-ups leave from Taupo! That counts for something, right? Tackling the mighty Tongariro River is a thrilling experience, especially in autumn, the high water season. Book your trip with Tongariro River Rafting.
4. Sail or kayak to the MAORI ROCK CARVINGs
Mine Bay, located on the shore of Lake Taupo, is only accessible by water. It hides an impressive 10-metre high Maori carving. Either jump on a relaxing sailing tour with Sail Barbary or Sail Fearless to see the carvings. Alternatively, kayaking to the carvings is a great adventure.
5. TAKE ON THE TAUPO BUNGY
Nestled in a stunning canyon, Taupo Bungy is the highest water touch bungy in the country. Jump alone, with a friend, or swing across the canyon. You have many options to test the laws of gravity! For more bungy locations, check out 7 Epic Places to Bungy Jump in New Zealand.
6. CHECK OUT THE MACCA!
“Macca” is what we call “McDonald’s” here in New Zealand. Voted one of the 10 most unusual McDonald’s restaurants in the world, Taupo’s giant fast-food restaurant will serve you in an old plane.
7. Jet Boat to the geothermal wilderness
Join NZ Riverjet for a high-speed thrill ride to some of the most stunning geothermal landscape in New Zealand. After powering down the mighty Waikato River, you have the option to either explore the geothermal park of Orakei Korako or do a short canyoning trip down “The Squeeze” to a secluded natural hot pool.
8. RELAX IN THE THERMAL POOLS
The geothermal activity around Lake Taupo gave birth to many thermal pools, which are either reasonably priced or free! Maybe it is your time to relax and treat yourself after all? Find out more in our 10 Things to Do in Taupo at Night.
9. SKYDIVE OVER MORDOR
There is one place where you can skydive over fiery Mordor and that’s from Taupo! If this has been one of your dreams since you read this sentence a few seconds ago, make sure to write down “Skydive Taupo” on your Taupo Bucket List!
10. CRUISE AROUND THE LAKE
Sailing and cruising options in Taupo are plentiful. All of them will make a point to pass in front of the famous Maori carvings mentioned above, as well as showing most of the best spots of New Zealand’s biggest lake. If the weather is good enough, you’ll even have time for a dip! Cruises are available with Chris Jolly Outdoors.
(Bonus) 11. CHECK OUT THE HUKA FALLS
Jet boat or walk to the impressive turquoise blue falls. You won’t be the only one there though as it is actually New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.
(Bonus Bonus) 12. TAKE A SHOT AT THE HOLE-IN-ONE
Kiwis are crazy about golf and the team at the Taupo Hole-in-One are some of the craziest! There are three holes in the raft ashore. Get your ball in the smaller one and pocket NZ$10,000! Many other prizes are up for grabs too.
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