Taupo can be found in the Waikato Region along the North Island territory of New Zealand. It is full of outdoor activities to do and you must not allow yourself to get discouraged by the freezing cold atmosphere in the winter season for it is the best time to enjoy the natural wonders of the city. Just make sure to get dressed warmly and once you’re there, prioritize a visit to the Huka Falls. It’s hard to call it a waterfall in the traditional sense, but it looks very cool and stunning in winter (August). It is a sharp narrowing of the river with some rapids.
Nevertheless, it is worth to see – a bubbling stream of the blue waters rushing and flowing right before your eyes. The roar of the stream passes the full power of the water, and you literally feel this power as you stand from the observation deck. Along with a visit to the Aratiatia Rapids (another exciting falls!) and the river rafting adventures do not pass Taupo without seeing these wonderful waterfalls and having a hike in the forest adjacent to the river; it is simply sublime!
When To Go:
Located within an inland territory, and with the mountains to the south affecting the atmosphere even more, the atmosphere in the city can be warm during summer (December to February) and frosty in the winter (June -August). Downpour and solid winds are likewise normal in the autumn season from March – November.
The best time to visit Taupo is during summer, from December to March, not just because there is an abundance of kiwis, but this is the best time to tune in to the numerous outdoor activities that are more prevalent during this time of the year.
Winter (June – August) is another good reason to see and be in Taupo. The city of falls and streams along a volcanic fault line is a good jump off point to see the ski slopes, and snow covered alps of the area, especially at the famous Mt. Ruapehu. Temperatures can be frozen, however, it is for the most part calmer and there can be numerous exquisite days where you can experience clear weather.
These are the most visited places and things to do in the city of Taupo:
is definitely worth a visit. Take a jet boat ride and experience the power of the water when sailing against the rushing waters. It’s expensive, but it’s also a great fun experience for people of all ages. Be aware that you are not strapped, so small children cannot attend. A walk along the river is also a really beautiful experience. The hike starts at the Spa Thermal Pools parking space and takes you all the way along with the incredibly beautiful river with the clearest water up to Huka Falls, which sends 40 meters of water per second through the narrow passage.
Remember to bring your bathing suit, if you want to dip your toes in the cool river, or mix and mingle with the other tourists who enjoy the hot springs at the beginning of the trip. Bring drinking water and a camera, and you’re ready for some walking adventure surrounded by Taupo’s breathtaking nature.
It is a force of nature that is beautiful to behold. This show is easily accessible from the road and definitely worth it. From the lookouts you have a good view of this powerful and beautifully colored waterfall. It is nice as a short stop if you are passing through. Every second, the flow falls enough to fill two Olympic pools, sunshine or rain, the icy water takes a sparkling turquoise shade before crashing into the foamy basin below. On the opposite bank a gateway allows everyone to see the falls more closely. It is hard to believe that the peaceful river becomes a waterfall that can wield such enormous force.
Huka Prawn Park
is a very interesting place in Taupo that is certainly worth a visit. The entrance fee comes for a total NZD 26 per person – and offers a lot of fun and unusual ways to enjoy the variety of things to do with this attraction. The park has plenty of entertainment, from tours of the farm (feeding of small shrimps, etc.), to a mini-golf course, but they are more focused on catching the shrimp for bait (all included in the cost). Every participant is issued with a fishing rod, a bucket of water to load your catch, and bait in the form of small pieces of meat. You must attach the hooks to the tiny fishing rod, without chipping, which is quite difficult. Therefore, it is good to get a guide that will let you know how to catch a lot of shrimp. Before going here, you must visit in the town of Taupo the fishing tackle shop and buy a normal hook (maybe even triple) the size of a fingernail of an adult male and a little bit of fishing line. When you receive a fishing pole in the park and come to the place of fishing – tie the end of the fishing line fishing rod fishing line with a hook. And catch to its normal hook and hook them to let loose. Then at the end untie this fishing line with hook bait and return as if nothing had happened.
The proven technique to catch the shrimp is the following; bait, sit down deep to the middle or even the beginning of the hook, and leave the spearhead open. Lower the hook to the bottom as quickly as possible, so that the fish do not eat the bait. You feel the tension of the fishing line when the pulled bait shrimp or the shrimps are moving freely along the bottom. After a few seconds (or even a minute or two) the shrimp stops to finally eat the bait (fishing line at this time will no longer stretch). Wait for thirty seconds – and slowly pull the hook to the surface. Once you catch the shrimp, give quick cash and cook in the pan. Immediately close the pan and do not overcook (there is a special booth there to cook your freshly caught prawns). A guided tour is also available, and it explains how to catch the crabs and if they are then trapped you can also cook them right here. The attached restaurant is tasty and has a nice outdoor area. It is best to do this fun activity during summer.
is a dam that is open at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, and every day at 16:00. These are the timed release of the water. Judging by the number of people the best views are from the bridge and the distant observation deck. You can take a look, if you have time. The sirens are sounded to signal a few minutes before the opening. Thus, you can see the water flowing into the river. There are great pictures to take and the visit is free. It is impressive to see the water level rising rapidly during the release of water from the dam. There are different views to observe the scene.
The Aratiatia Rapids can be combined well with a visit to the Huka Falls. There is only a difference of a few minutes’ drive to see the Rapids. Opposite the park is a narrow path to its two viewpoints. The opening is announced by multiple siren sounds. From the first signal, it takes 12 minutes to open the gates. The mass of water is collected in the first pool by the dam. If the basin is filled, the water flows gradually foaming in the subsequent narrow gorge, until the water has reached the end of the gorge, it takes more than a quarter of an hour. You have to enjoy the spectacle from the different viewpoints and give it enough time. The road is unpaved and to reach the viewpoints of the canyon you have to climb over a few boulders, so wear sturdy shoes.
Spa Thermal Park and Riverbank Recreational and Scenic Reserve
is a wonderful way to relax in Taupo and take a bath in a less crowded hot spring. After a short walk through the spacious park you will find the swimming directly at the inlet to the river. The place is beautiful, well signposted, and following the trail can be reached in Huka Falls. The only problem is that the hot spring is small and can give the chance (as in my case) to have more than one family at the time having fun. When taking this small waterfall in winter, everything else comes with ice water.
At first, you arrive a little suspicious because there is only a small fountain next to the river with a few holes in the rocks. The water of the river is icy, but the font gets too hot. There are some points that are not easily accessible because it gets too hot. After you get used to the temperature, you will not find the chance to leave all the way up to the free pool. After a short walk through the spacious park you will find the swimming area directly at the inlet to the river.
Waipahihi Botanical Gardens
have the best colors of nature that can be greatly admired during the season of spring. It is the best month to see everything in full bloom. Even in summer, it is also impressive because of its beautiful flowers; the tranquillity of the park is wonderful.
It is nice that you can shoot in auto mode while you do a bit of a walking trail. The walking tour leads to a beautiful garden that takes advantage of the natural terrain. You can see various flowers in bloom, a vast selection of birds that roam around the garden, and lots of pleasant spaces to sit down and relax. You can also see the nearby Lake Taupo from this garden.
Lake Taupo (The Great Lake Tour)
is often referred to as the sleeping giant of the city. This lake is actually a huge volcano that, according to legend, had that same cone-shaped volcanoes, but that its last eruption thousands of years ago was so strong and overwhelming that it blew the cone away and formed a lake, which at some points has a still unknown depth.
It is an exciting trail around the perimeter of Lake Taupo. You can walk through the forest of New Zealand and see unique ferns until you reach the platform where you can see the Lake Taupo. It is worth knowing when in Taupo.
Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley
is one of the popular thermal tours in Taupo. Most guests are amazed by the view of the Inferno Crater. It looks like a pool of turquoise blue. It’s both a nice walk and a beautiful promenade.
The thermal pools have their own charm. The water is really warm and it is surrounded by a safe and nice environment. This geothermal park is the best in New Zealand. The owners are very nice and explain what was in the park in the early times. This place is not nearly as touristy and it feels more natural. The admission fee cost NZ$ 10 which is very cheap.
Craters of the Moon
The Craters of the Moon tour is a very pretty ballad that can be over and done within one hour in a quite lunar landscape with an accessible tag path. It is best done in the morning, when the fumes look amazing. It is located in Taupo and right next to the Hula Falls. The admission fee is NZ$ 8 per adult. You will see fumes and there are provided benches to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
The Craters of the Moon is a beautiful site at the entrance to Taupo from Rotorua. The site is fun to visit; the atmosphere is much quieter, and less crowded. In short, it is a nice tour to do during a visit to Taupo City. The walk is pleasant and there are beautiful pictures to the site due to the presence of numerous smoke projections. Admission is certainly with pay, but the site is well maintained and secured. You’ll see the chimneys of thermal vapors throughout the journey. It provides a glimpse of the volcanic activity that is still present in the middle of this luxuriant nature.
Maori Rock Carvings
are sets of interesting (and sometimes eccentric) stones carved by the Maori tribe. It is located in Lake Taupo and to see them you must go by boat (in one of the many tours offered in town) or go kayaking. The work is relatively recent, no more than 30 years old, and although interesting, seeing it is essential when in Taupo.
Contrary to what most think the designs are not “prehistoric”. They were made a few decades ago. It is why it is interesting. The boat trip Is a great adventure, and the vessel will be moved fairly by the wind of Lake Taupo. It is highly recommended to check the weather before taking the tour.
Volcanic Activity Center
The central theme of the Volcanic Activity Center is interesting and you will learn more about the volcanic and tectonic activity of the region. It has a good overview of the geothermal activity in the region, as well as the list of active volcanoes, how many earthquakes, Geysers, etc. The earthquake simulator is very popular with children. Along with the short film and the panels, the Christian Churcher earthquake of 2010/2011 can be re-experienced.
Unfortunately, there were a few exhibits that are out of order (for example, the tsunami simulator), and there are “exhibits” that are just simple posters on the wall. Some of the information, animations, and videos are dated and urgently need to be updated and renewed, but it definitely has lots of room for improvement. Although the entrance fee is only a few dollars, the kids long for more interactive features in this attraction.
Taupo Tandem Skydiving
The Taupo Tandem Skydiving experience is one of the best extreme sports adventures that are worth trying when in Taupo. The view of the lake is wonderful. Even if the location is a bit far from the city center of Taupo, but with a good GPS it is possible to find it smoothly. The staffs are very welcoming and if you try the skydiving thrill, the video job creation is fast and efficient. It is actually quite good, and you will bring home a shirt and a 4GB USB stick. The giveaways depend on the contracted skydiving package.
Taupo in New Zealand is a place of stunning sports adventure; water sports activities, hiking trails, and impressive waterfalls. At the entrance to Taupo from Rotorua, the Huka Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the city. Although it is not very high, however, the flow of water that surprises is amazing to see! The visit is free and fast and it is easy to visit all the other natural attractions of the city so do not hesitate to stop there while visiting Taupo!