Located in North Island, Lake Taupo is a spectacular lake formed by a volcanic eruption. The geothermal region is home to a variety of unique experiences, such as hot pools and hot spring fields, lush parklands, dramatic gorges, and hidden waterfalls. The area is an adventure playground and offers opportunities for hiking, kayaking, boating, rafting and fishing. You’ll find an array of experiences for the whole family, from hiking in nature reserves to fishing on the lake to exploring geothermal fields to skiing on an active volcano. Find out more about Lake Taupo’s best tourist attractions and things to do to plan a fun-filled trip.
Fishing on Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo offers plenty of opportunities for watersports and adventure, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. Many flock to the area for trout fishing, however, the lake is home to abundant stocks of rainbow trout and brown trout that have been thriving in the lake since the 19th century. Fishing is a great way to spend some electronics-free time in the outdoors with the kids. If you want to learn more about the lake’s unique history, you can visit the nearby Taupo Museum to see historic artefacts and interactive displays.
Hiking to Huka Falls
Huka Falls is a majestic waterfall on the Waikato River with a rocky ledge and dramatic gorge. When you hike to the falls, you can take the pedestrian bridge for excellent views of the waterfall and churning pool below. If you want more adventure, you can take a jet boat tour of the Waikato River that travels to the base of the waterfall on a thrilling ride. If you have the kids, be sure to visit the Huka Prawn Park to play games with the kids and see a wildlife hatchery and nursery.
Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
A spectacular bucket-list experience in Lake Taupo, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most famous and remarkable treks in the world. The cross is 19.5 kilometres in length and boasts emerald lakes and volcanic craters in the surrounding park. From the summit, you’ll see incredible alpine views.
Take the family to Aratiatia Scenic Reserve
The Aratiatia Scenic Reserve is a lush wilderness filled with mountain biking tracks and family-friendly walking trails that are suitable for little legs or pushing a stroller. You’ll see plenty of native plants and flowers along the trails, and you may even catch glimpses of local wildlife. Another highlight of the reserve is the Aratiatia Dam gates, which open 3 times during the day to allow rapids to flow in from the Aratiatia Gorge. You can view the opening of the gates from the pedestrian bridge over the dam.
Touring Craters of the Moon
The Craters of the Moon Monument & Preserve is a haven of hiking trails among steam vents and wide-open countryside. Visiting Craters of the Moon is a must on your trip to Lake Taupo. You’ll find easy loop trails through the landscape for families with kids or you can take the more challenging routes for active adults and teens that travel along steep natural stairs to lookout platforms where you can see the whole of the geothermal terrain.
Exploring Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs
If you want some pampering on your trip, one of the best things to do in Lake Taupo is to have a soak at Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs. The natural spa is filled with mineral-rich thermal pools surrounded by lush ferns and botanical gardens with native flowers for an immersive escape. You’ll find a lot of other spa treatments on the list, including mud wraps, massages and other rejuvenating experiences. The hot springs are also family-friendly and offer a cooler pool for kids and an aquatic playground with hydro slides.
Skiing at Mount Ruapehu
Mount Ruapehu is an incredible active stratovolcano in Lake Taupo that’s home to the area’s best ski resorts. Boasting the highest peaks outside of the Southern Alps, Mount Ruapehu has rugged landscapes that are perfect for all types of skiers and snowboarders. The resort also has beginner-friendly areas and lessons for children and first-time skiers and snowboarders. In summer, you can hike and bike on the mountain to see the landscape, or take it easy with a scenic chairlift ride to the summit for spectacular aerial views.