10 Turangi Must-Dos
Things you Can’t miss in Turangi!
On the southern edge of the great Lake Taupo is a town full of adventure! If you’re looking for the ultimate outdoor experiences, then don’t miss the town of Turangi. Turangi is smack bang in the middle of Taupo and the Tongariro National Park offering activities from white water rafting to mountain biking to the pride of the town, trout fishing. But with so much to do, what are the Turangi must-dos?
In this list of Turangi must-dos, we’ve whittled down the offerings to the best things to do in Turangi. If you have limited time or are on a budget, then picking one or two of these must-do experiences will ensure you experience awesomeness during your stay in Turangi. For more ways to save the cents during your stay, check out these budget accommodation options on our 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Turangi.
1. Hike the Tongariro Crossing
Just 20 minutes drive from the Tongariro Crossing, Turangi is a fantastic base for doing New Zealand’s most popular day hike. Hike 19km through dramatic volcanic landscapes complete with steaming vents, volcanic cones, red craters and emerald coloured lakes. Sounds like you’re sort of adventure? Check out how to do this hike over at Tongariro Crossing Accommodation and Transport: A Practical Guide.
Location: The Ketetahi Car Park for the Tongariro Crossing is 24km from Turangi. Take State Highway 1 south, then State Highway 46 where the Ketetahi Car Park is signposted.
2. Check out the birthplace of the Haka
The Ka Mate Haka, the Haka performed by the All Blacks, was in fact created just a stone’s throw away from Turangi! Opotaka is a historical Maori pa site (fortified village) where you can learn about the history of the Haka, see the remains of the Maori settlement, and get amazing views of Mt Tongariro across Lake Rotoaira.
Location: 13km from Turangi. Follow State Highway 47 for 9km where Opotaka is signposted.
3. Check out the Tongariro National Trout Centre
If you’re a wildlife nut, or happen to have a fascination for trout, then don’t miss the Tongariro National Trout Centre! Not only can you see trout in all shapes and sizes at the hatchery, the Trout Centre also holds an aquarium of native freshwater fish and even a blue duck (whio) enclosure as part of local conservation efforts. Short bush walks also host an array of native birds along with views across the Tongariro River.
Location: 4km from Turangi. Head south on State Highway 1 where the Tongariro National Trout Centre is well signposted.
4. fish in the Trout fishing capital!
They say Turangi is the “Trout Fishing Capital of the World” and for good reason! The Tongariro River is a world-class fishing river where the population of rainbow trout leave the waters of Lake Taupo every year to spawn in. Whether you want to try fly-fishing in the Tongariro River or join a fishing charter on Lake Taupo, you’ll quickly see why the Turangi locals are “hooked” on trout fishing. A great place to start with planning your fishing experience is with the local fishing lodges like Tongariro Lodge or hire a fly-fishing guide.
Location: Tongariro River. Look out for fishing access signs along the Tongariro River Trail. You must hold a Taupo District Fishing License to fish in the river. See What You Need to Know About Fishing in New Zealand for more information.
5. Walk around Lake Rotopounamu
Walk in the magnificent forest of Lake Rotopounamu to the sounds of birds and the views of this crater lake. Rotopounamu means “Lake Greenstone” in Maori and you’ll see why when you lay your eyes on the beautiful green hues of the water. The 2-hour loop walk around the lake takes you through forest to three beaches alongside the lake.
Location: 12km from Turangi. Find the walk and car park signposted about 8km along State Highway 47.
6. Bike the Tongariro River Trail
Or walk this 15km loop following the Tongariro River. Accessible from the town, the Tongariro River Trail is a grade 2 cycling and walking trail crossing a couple of swing bridges and proving awesome views of the river along the way. See a mix of landscapes from urban to countryside to native forest in this varied trail. Shorter loops can be done by crossing the Major Jones Bridge.
Location: While there are several access points to the trail, the most popular place to start is from the Tongariro River Bridge on State Highway 1.
7. Do white water rafting on the Tongariro River
Yes, another awesome activity on the Tongariro River is white water rafting! Join a trip on the grade 3 stretch of river with more than 50 rapids to tackle! See a mix of scenery from deep river gorges to rolling countryside on this rafting trip that’s suitable for all ages. Alternatively, try the grade 4 trip on the river only available a few times a year.
Location: Rafting operators are available in Turangi town.
8. Have a Turangi Pie!
Yes, New Zealand has an obsession with savoury pies and some of the best pies in the country can be found right here in Turangi. If you’re only going to try pie once while you’re in New Zealand, make it one from the Turangi Bakery.
Location: 77 Ohuanga Road.
9. Ski on Mt Ruapehu
During the winter months, Mt Ruapehu is open for business! Take one of the mountain shuttles from Turangi to New Zealand’s largest ski field, Whakapapa. Not only is does the ski field have the longest running season in the country, it also give you the opportunity to tick “skiing down an active volcano” off the bucket list! Find out more about the New Zealand ski season here.
Location: 54km from Turangi. Take State Highway 47 for 37km then turn toward Whakapapa Village on State Highway 48.
10. See geothermal activity in Tokaanu
For one of the best free geothermal parks in the country, visit the Tokaanu Thermal Walk! This super easy 20-minute loop walk takes you through native bush to several pools of hot springs, bubbling mud and colourful geothermal features.
Location: 6km from Turangi. Take State Highway 41 for 5km and follow the brown signs for “Hot Pools”. The Tokaanu Thermal Walk starts beside the Tokaanu Hot Pools.
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