• Lava Glass blown tulips in a garden

    More than just a big lake: do something new in Taupō​

February 21, 2022

If you’re planning your next adventurous long weekend, Taupō is the place to go! Packed full of natural wonders, fascinating history, quirky arts, and great food, there’s so much to see and do beyond the (still gorgeous) Great Lake Taupō. Add some new and thrilling activities to your itinerary – whether you’re visiting for a romantic weekend getaway, a family trip or a short break with friends, Taupō is full of surprises and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. 

Ride the rapids with us (of course!)​

Searching for an all-out adrenaline rush? Or just wanting to soak up the stunning scenery along the Waikato River? Rapids Jet has something to offer everyone, aged 5 to 105! Experience the full power of our custombuilt V-shape jetboats as you shoot across New Zealand’s longest river at speeds of up to 90km/hr. And if you’re a fan of The Hobbit, a few spots along the way will look quite familiar to you. The unique thrill of whitewater jetboating and ‘power surfing’ the rapids (a New Zealand-exclusive!) should be a must-do on every Taupō itinerary. 

Jet boat racing along a river

Blast through the Waikato River on the ultimate thrill ride

Be mesmerised by the Aratiatia Dam​ 

Lush native forest and striking rock formations frame the iconic Aratiatia Dam and Aratiatia Rapids. Not only rich in natural beauty but also a place with interesting history, the opening of the Aratiatia Power Station in 1964 paved the way for harnessing the river’s hydro-electric power potential. Today, the dam idles innocently, except for three or four times a day when the gates open, releasing an incredible 80,000 litres of water. From here, a peaceful stretch of the river is transformed into a fast-flowing, tumultuous series of rapids – it’s a truly spectacular sight to watch unfold. Several viewpoints allow you to see this phenomenon first-hand, and is definitely worth a visit. 

Aratiatia Dam

Witness the powerful surges of the Aratiatia Dam. Credit: freewalks.nz

Get up close and personal with the mighty Huka Falls 

Kick back, unwind, and cruise along the picturesque Waikato River on a Huka Falls River Cruise. Immerse yourself in the native bush and birdlife as you relax on their purpose-built river boat. You’ll soon hear the ferocious current of the falls, before you can even see them! Then, gaze in awe as the magic unfolds and the 11-metre-tall Huka Falls reveal themselves – with more than 220,000 litres of water a second erupting over the gorge, it’s a remarkable sight. Grab a Rapids Jet and River Cruise combo to experience the best of both worlds!

Red boat on Huka River

Slow and scenic does not mean boring!

Get your creative fix

Perfect for a rainy day, or to relax after the rush of riding the rapids, experience Taupō’s arts and culture scene with a trip to Taupō Museum, the Lava Glass Sculpture Garden, orL’ARTÉ Café and Gallery. Plus, the entire town centre is a work of art in itself, with eye-catching street art creations from Graffiato adorning laneways and alleys. With larger-than-life masterpieces waiting around every corner, each with a uniquely Taupō flair, there’s plenty to admire and appreciate. 

Lava Glass blown tulips in a garden

Giant glass-blown tulips greet you at Lava Glass Sculpture Garden. Credit: Love Taupō

Round off the day with some burgers and brews

Chances are you’ll be ready to refuel after an adventurous day in Taupō. Enjoy a delicious burger, indulge on a wood-fired pizza or chow down on your pub favouritesyou won’t have any trouble quenching your hunger. The close proximity of restaurants and eateries is perfect for an evening bar crawl, so taste your way through the region’s tasty craft beers and you’ll soon discover your new favourite drop.  

Sausages mash and peas with a beer at a beachside pub

A banger of a dish served alongside a banger of a view at Pub n Grub. Credit: Auckland i-SITE

Get ready to create some epic memories with your friends and family on your next Taupō holiday. There’s something for everyone in the heart of the North Island both on and off the great lake. 

Experience the natural beauty of Taupō like never before 🏞️ When you can’t decide between adventure and awe – do both! The best way to enjoy the mighty Huka Falls and the incredible Aratiatia Dam is with our Rapids Jet and River Cruise combo. #hukafalls #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #ExploreTaupō #RiverAdventure #TaupōThrills
Like a theme park in the wild 👌💦 Thank you for sharing this video @explorefeelgood – looks like you had so much fun! 🤩
This Christmas, give the gift of adrenaline and adventure! Faster than Santa’s sleigh, let your friends and family speed through the twists and turns of the Waikato River aboard Rapids Jet 🎄 Check out our website for easy e-gift vouchers. #christmasgifts #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #ExploreTaupō #RiverAdventure #TaupōThrills
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review – “The team were very friendly and made the rainy experience worth it! Jacob the driver took the time to check on us throughout the trip and was awesome! Would highly recommend!” Thanks for your epic feedback, Brianna C! #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #ExploreTaupō #RiverAdventure #TaupōThrills
Hold on tight, we're about to conquer some epic rapids! 🚤 Are you up for the challenge? Thanks for sharing this awesome photo, @karen36laken #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #ExploreTaupō #RiverAdventure #TaupōThrills
Dive into adventure with Rapids Jet! Let's ride the mighty Waikato River together 🌊 #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #ExploreTaupō #RiverAdventure #TaupōThrills
Trick or Treat? 🎃 What are your plans this Halloween? Choose “treat” and come along for some spins on the jetboat and just the right level of scaries! #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ #halloween
From tranquil waters to adrenaline-pumping rapids, our jet boat adventure offers the best of both worlds. What was your favourite part of the ride? 🏞️🚤 #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ
Put your hands up if you’re ready for the long weekend ahead! 🙌 We’re open every day throughout the long Labour Weekend for your adrenaline fix. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s Jo’s thoughts she shared on Facebook: “Fun and exciting jet ride! Awesome crew and informative friendly tour guide. Thanks Jacob, Shannon, and team Rapids Jet. We loved our experience! Definitely a must-do activity in Taupō!”' #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ
An epic adventure awaits as we glide through the water, leaving a trail of excitement in our wake. Join us for a thrilling experience! 💦 #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Taupō from a whole new perspective. Jump aboard and explore nature's playground in speed and style 🏞️ 🌄 #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ