Updated: 7 April 2021

Taupo is one of the North Island’s all-year-round destinations and that’s because there are so many things to do in Taupo. Whether you visit in the summer months and spend some time in, on or around the lake, or you visit during the winter months and base yourself in Taupo for a week of skiing, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the North Island.

Taupo itself is a small city built around the largest lake in Australasia (Lake Taupo). It’s a hugely popular destination for people road tripping around the North Island and an awesome place spend a few days on its own merits. That’s because there are so many things to do in Taupo covering a wide variety of interests.

Below you’ll find 15 of our favourite things to do in Taupo that you can include as part of your next exciting itinerary there.

1. Tongariro National Park


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The magnificent Tongariro National Park. One of our glorious World Heritage sites where (among other things) you can do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, recognised as one of the best one-day hikes in New Zealand (and the world). It was also the shooting location for Mount Doom in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy!

The 19.4km journey takes visitors across unique landforms and challenging terrain to give an unforgettable experience. It is widely regarded as the best one-day walk in New Zealand and is an absolute must on the list of things to do in Taupo.

2. Mountain Biking


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If you’d like a similar experience at a slightly quicker pace then you might be interested in Taupo’s mountain bike trails. There are over a dozen awesome trails to choose from in and around the area. This includes the Craters Mountain Bike Park, Tongariro River Trail, W2K section of the Great Lake Trail and more.

If you’re an experienced mountain biker you’ll be in heaven. If not, it’s a great thing to get into and there are operators who offer tours as well.

3. Quad Biking


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If you like bikes but would prefer not to have to do the peddling yourself, then a quick and easy option for you is the Quad bike.

Quad biking is great fun especially in the wide open spaces and beautiful surrounds of Ruapehu. The good people at Ruapehu Adventure Rides organise popular guided tours taking you over hills, through water and into the wild. It’s tremendous fun and GO Rentals customers also get a 10% discount using their GO Play cards!

4. The Craters of the Moon


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This is one that sounds like it requires a quad bike/buggy as an other-worldly experience unlike any other.

The Craters of the Moon is a wonderland of geothermal activity that includes bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and colourful soils and rocks. The walking path takes around 45 mins with lots of great photo opportunities along the way. It’s not the only geothermal attraction in the region either with another fantastic site at Orakei Korako about 25 mins drive north of Taupo.

5. Huka Falls


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Huka Falls, one of the most powerful and famous waterfalls in New Zealand is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taupo.

They are an awesome sight to behold and, in full flow, can pass over 300,000 litres per second from a height of 11 metres. The Huka Falls trail is a pleasant walk to do and takes about an hour with several viewing platforms to appreciate the impressive falls.

6. Huka Prawn Park

One of the more unusual attractions you’ll encounter in Taupo (and anywhere in fact) is the Huka Prawn Park.

The Huka Prawn Park is the only one of its kind in the country and invites members of the public to experience and learn about prawn farming. It’s very family orientated with areas for the kids to play, pedal boats and prawn fishing. The Huka Prawn Park is also a GO Rentals partner so you’ll get a 10% discount here too!

7. Trout Fishing


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For all the fly fishing enthusiasts out there, Taupo boasts some beautiful rivers, streams and lakes full of glorious trout.

The locations and scenery in the region, as we’ve already discussed, are spectacular which make the pursuit even more memorable. There are some great local guides who run tours that you can join who can take you to all the best spots too.

8. Rock Carvings (like you’ve never seen before)


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Lake Taupo has more than a few hidden treasures and one of them is the awe-inspiring Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay.

The Maori Rock Carvings were created in the 1970’s and are over 10 metres tall taking the likeness of an ancient Maori navigator. They’re an impressive work of cultural art and a great way to experience them is on a Kayak tour with operators like Canoe & Kayak. You guessed it, they’re a GO Rentals partner too with our customers enjoying a 5% discount.

9. Tee off into the Waters


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When playing golf, the aim is normally to avoid the water features on the course. In Taupo, the whole course is a water feature with the Hole in One Challenge.

The hole actually sits on a floating pontoon in Lake Taupo, 102 metres from the shore where you tee off. The prize for getting a hole in one is $10,000 and on average, someone nails it once every two weeks. It’s a prize that could pay for your whole holiday so get swinging!

10. White Water Rafting


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The Tongariro River is blessed with some fantastic rapids which means, if you’re fit and brave enough, you can try White Water Rafting.

There are over 60 rapids on the course which Tongariro River Rafting take you on which is best described as a roller coaster on water. All the gear is provided as well as food and drink so all you need is the right attitude, energy and spirit! A 10% discount here too for our customers too!

11. Jet Boating


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If you’re after a similar type of experience as described above (without the effort) then getting on a jet boat is the perfect solution.

What’s great about the jet boating experience in Taupo is not only do you get the thrills and spills of the ride. You also get to an unbeatable view of the Huka Falls (if you go with Huka Falls Jet) as they take right to the base of the falls. A great one to tell your friends about back home and another 10% discount for GO Rentals customers!

12. Bungy Jumping


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Staying with the adrenaline activities we turn to the Kiwi invented attraction that is bungy jumping. “Find your scream” is the tagline for this one and is a more than accurate description for sure.

Set on a cliff-top over the Waikato River at 47 metres, the Taupo Bungy is actually the highest water-touch jump in the country. They also more recently added their Cliffhanger Extreme Swing from 44 metres which still offers a more than decent thrill. It’s a top attraction which is why it’s also a GO Rentals partner with a 10% discount.

13. Skydiving


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If for some peculiar reason 40 odd metres isn’t high enough for your freefall fix then you can take to the skies with a bit of sky diving.

Here you’ll be taken to 15,000ft over one of the most scenic drop zones in the world. How people can appreciate it when falling at terminal velocity is a bit of a mystery, but they have in the thousands over the years. We’ve got two operators in our GO Play programme that can sort you out with a discount and both are awesome!

14. Scenic flight


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If you’d like the beautiful view without having to jump out of the actual plane mid-flight then you can choose to do that with a scenic flight.

“Flightseeing” is officially what they call it and the Taupo Floatplane use their iconic seaplanes to bring you the experience. The views of Lake Taupo and the peaks of the Tongariro National Park are just some of the breathtaking highlights you can expect to encounter. It’ll cost you 5% less for the pleasure if you’re a GO Rentals customer too!

15. Camping under the stars


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Last but not least, Taupo is a great place to do a bit of old-fashioned camping with a number of holiday parks and camping grounds in the region.

The skies are especially clear and free of light pollution in Taupo and the sight of the glistening stars is nothing short of magical. It’s a great way to finish off an active day having been out and about enjoying all the amazing things to do in Taupo.

Plenty of things to do in Taupo!

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Taupo to keep you busy and entertained. If you’d like to learn even more about what to see and do and where to stay and eat, check out our Taupo and Tongariro Complete Guide!

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