Taupo’s a great place to get away to for a winter holiday or for a couple of days stopover on your way through the island. Situated in the middle of the North Island it is a 3.5 hour drive from Auckland and a 4.5 hour drive from Wellington. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand and was formed when a volcano blew up about 26,000 years ago.
Taupo is situated on the North East shore of the lake and allows the most beautiful vista with the mountains of Tongariro National Park rising in the background. There is so much to see and do for all ages. It’s a lovely place to chill out for some R&R, some outdoor pursuits, or step it up and go for some real thrill seeking.
A “chill out, must do”, is the DeBretts hot pools. This is a brilliant place to ease those aching muscles with soothing mineral water. There are multiple pools, and a water slide for the kids or kids at heart. You can also stay here with multiple choices of accommodation, a spa facility, cafe and next door is the Hilton for a little more luxury and fine dining.
Sail Barbary Scenic Cruises also looks like a great option with a 2.5 hour cruise, who are running a WINTER SPECIAL. The Maori Rock Carving Cruise includes a free beverage, a ‘Kiwi’ treat & 2 for 1 pool admission at Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs. Adult $35; Child $16
Race Car Driving
Now you can drive a race car for fun with Formula Challenge. You can choose from a grunty and powerful V8 or the formula challenge single seater. This is so much fun and you will receive skilled instruction on how to drive before they let you loose on the track. Enquire as to how many they run in a race so you can race your friends.
Check out the biggest rapids in Australasia, the Aratiatia Dam which is a 15 minute drive from Taupo. The rapids are controlled from Hamilton and is allowed to run 3 times a day. The rapids ran naturally before damming and hydroelectric power production was installed. The water tumbles down the rock face, filling pools like a huge tap has been turned on. There are great viewing spots and a siren sounds at 10, 5 and 1 minute intervals before the water starts to run so you don’t miss it.
Tongariro National Park
The Ruapehu skifields are a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Taupo so if you wake up to a beautiful day it’s a short drive for a great day in the snow. All your ski gear can be hired in Taupo or from the rental places on the mountain. There is a lovely walk out from the Chateau to the Taranaki Falls,which takes you through a beautiful Beech forest, tussock and along the river. This is not a really long walk and is suitable for all ages. It allows you to see the different fauna and terrain of the central plateau and is beautiful for the different vistas. Highly recommended. There are many walk and cycling trails in this area, of varying distances and difficulty.
The Huka Falls is another fantastic spot where you can ride in the jet boat up to the bottom of the falls, a totally exhilarating ride. Prawn fishing is also available where you can cook what you catch or take them home. Or you can do it the easy way and order them in the Restaurant.
Lake Taupo Walks
There are some great walks around Taupo and not too many are steep as the terrain near the lake is pretty flat hence the name the Central Plateau. The Spa Park walkway will take you all the way to the Huka Falls and along the way there is a a natural hot stream so take your swimming costume and have a soak. The kids will love it. The Taupo domain has beautiful gardens and an awesome playground with plenty of room to run around and let off steam.
There are numerous eating places along the waterfront where you can relax and take in the view of the lake with the mountains behind. There is a selection of cafes, restaurants, bars and fast food outlets so there will be something to suit your taste and time of day.
We have a rental car branch handily located in Taupo so if you are flying in to Taupo book your vehicle with us now. We also have rental vehicles available at 18 different locations throughout New Zealand for those who are touring and can supply any size to suit your needs from a small 4 seater compact vehicle, 8 seater people movers, and the larger 12 seater mini vans, with every size in between.