If you’re travelling around NZ then you must visit the beautiful Lake Taupo! There are so many great things to do like kayaking, biking and paddleboarding. Everyone will find something to enjoy, it’s great for families and thrill seekers.
In this article we want to let you know that there are still hidden ways to enjoy Lake Taupo and the surrounding areas. There are many options for accommodation in Taupo town so instead we recommend some not so common places a bit outside. There are also lovely places to have a locally produced meal (although we didn’t say they would be cheap!).
Things to do in Taupo:
Get up close and personal with the Maori carvings by kayaking to view them
Get a real sense of adventure as you kayak out to explore the Maori carvings, a 2 hour paddle from Taupo Marina, or shorter from Acacia Bay. If you are a little unsure of your fitness level then we would recommend you join a tour.
Head out on a bike and explore the Western Bays on the Great Lake Taupo Trail
There are 3 sections of the Great Lake Trail which have you biking (or walking if you prefer) past volcanic formations, through native bush over streams and giving you some of the most spectacular views of Lake Taupo and the distant mountains. The second section of the trail from Kawakawa Bay – Kinloch is the shortest at 19.5km, however, why not make an adventure of it and do a two day self guided bike tour starting in Waihaha and finishing in Kinloch.
Swim in the warm thermally heated waters of the Waikato River
Join a tour that will kayak you down the mighty Waikato River, past the bungy jumping and let you out for a soak at the lovely naturally heated hot pools where people will wonder where you came from pulling up in your kayak!
Make your way to Huka Falls by biking along the Huka Falls Loop Track
This well maintained grade 2 shared use path (cycle, walking, running, dogs, children) is a fantastic way to explore the river, scenery and various look out points between the Huka Falls and the spectacular Aratiatia Rapids. Time your ride right to view the Aratiatia Dam release its water every day at 10:00, midday and 14:00 (also at 16:00 in the summer months). See native plants, rock formations and spot the New Zealand native birds! If you do this in the early morning then you will not have the crowds that can gather during the day!
Spend time on the Water and learn to Stand up Paddle Board
Learn a new sport on one of the most beautiful Lakes in the World! This sport is easy, relaxing and is a great way to explore the Lake foreshore from on the water versus looking out at it! Head to Lake Fun Taupo or Canoe and Kayak Taupo (they have inflatable SUP that you can take where you like on the foreshore to explore).
Search for Trout and get spectacular views biking along the Tongariro River Trail
The Tongariro River Trail starts in Turangi and is an easy ride, although what makes it easy is stopping to take in the views along the river! Watch the locals out fishing and even be inspired to book your own fishing expedition! This is a beautiful ride that can take as long or as fast as you like, I suggest packing a picnic and making a day of it!
Where to stay in Taupo:
Instead of basing yourself in Taupo check out the surrounding Bays close to Taupo. They provide you with a touch of everyday Kiwi life. Acacia Bay and Two Mile Bay are close to Taupo, with Two Mile Bay just a bike along the Lake foreshore! If you have your own hire car then head to Kinloch, a little village in a beautiful part of the Lake, yet within 15 minutes of Taupo.
Check out the site https://www.bookabach.co.nz to further your experience of how kiwis live while on holiday, a bach is a holiday home!
If you have an extra few days then heading to the opposite end of Lake to Taupo is a great way to check out the local holiday hideouts! There are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets in Turangi. If you are looking for a kiwi experience try https://www.bookabach.co.nz again for the Bays Pukawa, Omori and Kuratua, 15 minutes out of Turangi, they are spectacular!
If you are a keen trout fisherman then the Tongariro Lodge is situated right along the River and provides some beautiful accommodation in the region!
Where to Eat in Taupo:
If you staying in Acacia Bay then there is a well know café to both locals and international tourists which is definitely worth a visit called L’Arte Café. They have a range of New Zealand gifts and art work available as well as local produce used in their cooking.
For a special dinner head to The Kinloch Club for a top quality meal produced from locally sourced produce. Over looking Lake Taupo this is a truly special experience!
For a bit of Local fun and entertainment, if you are around on a Sunday night, then head to the 2 Mile Bay Café, where there is usually a live band and pizza available right on the lake front!
Finally, try out the Tongariro Lodge, a lakeside lodge and restaurant near Turangi: http://www.tongarirolodge.co.nz/
- Kayaks for Maori Carving
- Bike Hire and guides for the Huka Falls Loop Track
- SUP Hire
- Turangi Bike Hire
- Bike hire and Tours of the Western Bays and Great Lake Trail