Whether your New Year resolution is to be more active or you want to burn off some off that Christmas food, there are plenty of wonderful walks to enjoy around Taupo¯ .
■ Great Lake Walkway
The walk time varies depending on which exit you take. From the Lake Taupo¯ Yacht Club follow the paved track along the lake edge to Two Mile Bay then Wharewaka Point. Ideal picnic and swimming spots can be found along the way. Carry on around the point to the new concrete footpath to Five Mile Bay. This, and all other walks on this page are open for dog walking, be sure to take your leash.
■ Control Gates Bridge to Spa Thermal Park
From the Control Gates bridge follow the true right of the Waikato River to Cherry Island. Head along the river to the steps up to Taupo¯ Bungy. From the top it is only 200 metres to Spa Thermal Park. Takes about an hour.
■ Huka Falls Walkway
Turn right off Tongariro Street into Spa Road at the northern end of Taupo¯ , then left into County Ave and drive into Spa Thermal Park. Following the signs, walk for five minutes across the park to the Waikato River. Near the start of the walkway, a bridge crosses the Otumuheke Hot Stream. The track winds along the riverbank and offers lovely views on the way. The walk finishes at the spectacular Huka Falls. Return via the same track or arrange transport from Huka Falls carpark (across the bridge). This walk can be linked with the Aratiatia Rapids Walk.
■ Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids Track Follow SH 1 north from Taupo¯ , turn right into Huka Falls Rd and follow the signs to Huka Falls. A refreshment kiosk and pay toilets are located in the carpark. The track begins across the bridge. Head left to the last viewing area over Huka Falls. At the back of the viewing area the track climbs onto the cliff tops with magnificent views of the river. It then gradually descends and continues along the river to the Aratiatia hydro dam and rapids. Return via this route or arrange transport from Aratiatia. About four hours.
■ Waikato River Track
This walk begins at the Huka Falls carpark and ends at Otupo Flat. Five minutes down the track there is a grassed area with a good view back to the falls. From here there is a short, steep climb to a road then the track drops again to the river and ambles along through a variety of terrain and vegetation. There are several short side tracks to points of interest along the way. Return on the same track or arrange return transport. Takes about an hour.
■ Acacia Bay Walking Track
Starts about 1km past Te Kopua Street, heading towards Acacia Bay. The track leads downhill and then to the lake edge through native bush and opens out to Acacia Bay.
■ Rangatira Point Walking Track
Follow Acacia Bay Road past the boat ramp and on for another 2km. The track starts at the first carpark on the left. The track leads around the lakeshore to Totara Bay. There is a large group of pines at Te Karaka Point at the far end of the bay. A side track from this point leads back to Acacia Bay Road. The main track continues to Rangatira Point then loops back to meet the road. Excellent lake views. Vehicle access to both ends of this track. Takes about 90 minutes.
■ Whakamoenga Walking Track
Follow Acacia Bay Rd to the road end carpark. Begin on the Rangatira Point Track. Turn right at the first junction. An easy, graded track runs through the bush beside the lake around to Whakamoenga Point. There are good views across the lake from many points along the walkway. Please respect adjacent private property by staying on the track. Takes about an hour. Note: The Rangatira and Whakamoenga Point Tracks can be walked together (2.5 hours return).