Welcome to Lake Taupo, a breathtaking jewel nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island. Known for its awe-inspiring beauty and a myriad of outdoor adventures. Lake Taupo offers a perfect blend of nature, culture, relaxation and adrenaline-pumping activities. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or someone seeking tranquillity, this captivating region has something to offer everyone. Let’s have a little look at some of the incredible things to do and see around Lake Taupo, ensuring an unforgettable experience in this picturesque destination.
Begin your Lake Taupo journey by visiting Huka Falls, a spectacle that leaves visitors in awe. Marvel at the vibrant blue waters as they rush with immense power, creating a captivating display of nature’s forces. Then, take a scenic walk along the Huka Falls Trail to experience different vantage points and capture breathtaking photos of this incredible natural wonder.
Immerse yourself in Maori culture
Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Maori people by engaging in traditional ceremonies, performances, and storytelling. Experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) where food is cooked in earth ovens, and listen to ancient legends passed down through generations.
Indulge in water activities
Lake Taupo is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, offering an array of exhilarating water activities. Take a thrilling jet boat ride along the Waikato River, navigate the lake’s pristine waters on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or try your hand at fishing, with trout being a popular catch.
Maori rock carvings
For a truly unique experience, embark on a scenic cruise to the famous Māori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay, immersing yourself in the stunning natural scenery. I suggest one of the small sailing vessels. These rock carvings are not that old, but incredible to see. Master carver Matahi, along with his team of assistants, carved a 10-meter-tall sculpture of Ngatoroirangi, a visionary Māori navigator, in the Taupō area. The sculpture took four summers to complete and was a gift to the community. In addition to the main carving, Matahi incorporated smaller Celtic figures representing the south wind. The project was funded through small change donations from local bar patrons, and the team worked without seeking payment. The sculpture also serves as a symbol of cultural fusion and the enduring connections between different heritages in New Zealand.
Soak in hot springs and geothermal delights
Unwind and rejuvenate your senses by visiting the geothermal wonderland surrounding Lake Taupo. Immerse yourself in the soothing mineral waters of the Taupo Hot Springs Spa or the nearby Wairakei Terraces, where you can indulge in natural hot pools and enjoy therapeutic treatments. Next, explore the Craters of the Moon geothermal area, where steaming vents, bubbling mud pools, and vibrant colors create a surreal landscape.
Tongariro National Park
For the enthusiast, Tongariro National Park offers a treasure trove of adventures, located just south of Lake Taupo. Embark on the world-renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a challenging yet rewarding hike that takes you through a volcanic wonderland, passing vibrant emerald lakes, steaming vents, and ancient lava flows. Don’t miss the opportunity to summit Mount Ngauruhoe, also known as Mount Doom from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, for a truly epic experience. There is also nearby waterfalls like Bridal Veil Falls. There is also Waipunga Falls, TeHeroto and then to Pungaghuru Falls, a little difficult to find, but worth it.
Embark on a skydiving adventure
For adrenaline junkies seeking an unforgettable thrill, Lake Taupo is a sky diving paradise. Experience the rush of free-falling from 15,000 feet above the stunning lake and snow-capped mountains, taking in breathtaking views as you parachute down to earth. With highly experienced instructors and state-of-the-art equipment, this will be an adrenaline-pumping adventure you’ll cherish forever.
When all else fails, go for a bike ride, take a walk or indulge in the shopping and cafes along the waterfront. We spent a few lunches sitting in one of the waterfront restaurants and watched the world go by.
- The Maori Rock carvings are a must; book one of the smaller sailing vessels and make a day of it.
- Check the local weather before heading out on the lake.
- Between lake vistas, waterfalls and rock carvings, it pays to bring a few different lenses if you can. Wide angles and tripods, with ND filters for soft silk waterfalls. Zoom lenses for close-up images of some of the action.
- I also suggest a good pair of walking shoes, hat and sunscreen.