The sapphire waters of the great lake, the majestic peaks of Tongariro National Park to the south and the sleepy silhouette of Mount Tauhara to the east provide a panoramic feast for the eyes.
What’s not to love? This is the central north island’s hub and it delivers the goods in every sense.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junky in search of your next heart-pounding experience, a shopper with a wallet burning a hole in your pocket, an avid coffee drinking, people-watching enthusiast, nature lover or just on the hunt for a culinary experience worthy of five stars, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to New Zealand’s events capital.
For many, it’s the lake that beckons. Heralded as the trout fishing capital of the world, it’s no wonder people visit from the four corners in search of landing the big one. If you’re a seasoned pro or complete novice you can be assured there will be an experience just right for you.
And while the crystal waters do draw the masses, the lure is not only confined to the great lake. The surrounding rivers only serve to amplify what’s on offer.
A trip down the Tongariro River with the crew from Tongariro River Rafting is a must do. Not only does this grade three trip leave your heart pumping, it also offers an environmental and scenic treat with a stunning backdrop and the sounds of nature as your musical soundtrack.
Further north, the waters of the mighty Waikato River can also be enjoyed and for many this is an experience best served from above. Stand on the 47-metre-high platform at Taupo Bungy, New Zealand’s
highest water touch bungy and add your name to the list of those who have bravely dived headfirst into the clear waters below. If, like me, you’re a safety in numbers kind of thrill seeker, grab a buddy and opt for the tandem experience. Either way this is by far one of the most exhilarating ways to explore New Zealand’s longest river.
If sheer speed is more your thing, then an action-packed spin on Hukafalls Jet is just another way in which you can explore the iconic waters of the Waikato River and perhaps more importantly the mighty Huka Falls. Sit beneath this beast of a waterfall and watch as the colours of the water dance, bubble and churn with unimaginable speed and force. Get closer than you thought possible and feel the spray on your face as you reach for your camera and snap that unforgettable picture.
When you think you’ve seen it all, I’d suggest you take one last, allencompassing glance of this magical corner of the world and the best place to do that is from the air.
Rustle up some courage and book yourself in for one final treat, a tandem skydive above Great Lake Taupo. At either 12,000 or 15,000 feet, Taupo Tandem Skydiving can guarantee a view that would rival any postcard and the perfect way to complete your visit to the North Island’s adventure mecca.
Taupo’s generous activity calendar expands throughout the seasons, offering visitors plentiful options year round. High class mountain biking trails, epic hiking routes, snow skiing in the winter, water skiing in the summer and luxurious natural hot pools mean no month is left untouched and you can be sure your trip to Great Lake Taupo will be one the whole family can enjoy.
When the temperature drops and the days get shorter it’s a clear sign that winter is on its way and if, like me, that gets you buzzing enough to drag out the snowboard and start that all important pre-season tune, I’m picking you’ll want to head south and get amongst the action Mount Ruapehu has to offer. As the north island’s only commercial ski field, Mount Ruapehu offers a smorgasbord of terrain and two ski fields, ensuring a day of fun for
beginners to die-hard ski bunnies.
When you’ve had enough heartracing action head north on State Highway One and pay a visit to the enchanting hidden valley of Orakei Korako. Steeped in natural wonder, this beautiful park pays homage to the central north island’s geothermal identity. This wonderland is home to New Zealand’s largest number of active geysers, with 23 in total performing a myriad of dances for visitors. Boiling natural springs, native bush walks and a remarkable colour pallet provides a feast for the senses.
When the sight, sounds, thrills and spills leg of your trip is over, a stroll through the Taupo Museum to unearth how it all began is well worth the visit. Home to a charming array of displays, the museum, nestled in the town centre, is a delightful place to recap on your Taupo adventure. Take a stroll at your own pace and explore the museum at your leisure.
One final recommendation is a stay at Taupo’s only five star hotel, the Hilton Lake Taupo. Sitting pretty beneath iconic Mount Tauhara, the hotel is a beautiful illustration of centuries colliding. The new hotel sits alongside the former Terraces Hotel, which has a proud and long-standing history in Taupo. Enjoy an awardwinning meal at the hotel’s restaurant Bistro Lago and then finish off the day with a soak in the hot pools at neighbouring De Bretts Spa Resort.
The beauty of Taupo lies in its endless possibilities. From a quiet weekend getaway to an action packed visit or the ideal spot for a family holiday, it’s central location, stunning natural environment, impressive events calendar and various activities, attractions and experiences will leave you completely spoilt for choice.
The hub of the central north island, Taupo offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. Stay, play or kick back and just enjoy a backdrop worthy of any coffee table book. This is undoubtedly one of the country’s most stunning playgrounds. So what are you waiting for?