• 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. 

Stretch your legs after your ride with this must-do walk in @lovetauponz 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Aratiatia Rapids will blow your mind as millions of litres of water erupts and cascades over the stream below – it’s a sight for all the senses 🙌 #AratiatiaRapids #RapidsJet #OutdoorAdventures #Taupo
Discover the magic of the river where scenes from “The Hobbit” were filmed. An adventure fit for Bilbo himself 🌄✨ Relive the magic of the iconic barrels scene with our thrilling jetboat experience. #AratiatiaRapids #RapidsJet #OutdoorAdventures
Overdue for a romantic getaway with your partner? Whether it’s a date, an anniversary, or just a cute weekend break, Taupō offers a mixture of stunning scenery, thrilling activities, and relaxing spa treatments to suit every couple ❤️ Check out the link in bio to get inspired! #RomanticGetaway #Taupo #NZ #RapidsJet #NZMustDo
Smiles all round! Happy Mother’s Day from our whānau to yours 🥰 #RapidsJet #Taupo #JetBoat #NZActivities #WhiteWaterRafting #Waikato
Like a rollercoaster, but on the water – hold on tight for the ride of your life 🎢💦 #Taupo #RapidsJet #NZ #NZMustDo #NZTravel
See more and spend less with our all-new package deal that encompasses the best of Rotorua and Taupō 😍 Geysers and mud pools in the morning, jetboating in the afternoon, and feasting on Māori kai and culture in the evening? Sounds like the perfect day to us! Book your combo online now – incredible stories and gorgeous scenery await at @Te Pa Tu and @WaioTapu ✨ #NZ #Taupo #Rotorua #ComboDeal #Package #Culture #Adventure #Thrills #NZTravel
Family bonding, adrenaline-style 🙌😎 Reuniting with the cousins or getting the squad together soon? Book out an entire boat trip for yourselves or get amongst our daily departures! #familyfun #grouptravel #rapidsjet #NZ #Taupo
Nature is our playground – where every splash tells a story 🌊🚤 #RapidsJet #Taupo #NZNature #JetBoat #NZ #NZTravel
A shout-out to our superstar team 🙏🦸‍♂️ Our crew are all about making sure you have a great experience from start to finish – and making every spin and splash a memorable one! #EmployeeAppreciation #NZTravel #RapidsJet #Taupo
Front-row views 😍 Buckle up and take in the breathtaking scenery! #RapidsJet #Taupo #NZMustDo #Nature #Adventure
We’re loving this couple’s Rapids Jet adventure – a symphony of screams, shrieks and sprays. What an epic experience on the river! 🌊😅 Credit: @ad.ventureswithcam #rapidsjet #taupo #nztravel #bucketlistadventures #nzmustdo
School holidays = sorted ✅ Head to our bio for our top tips for some family fun in Taupō – starring our thrilling whitewater jetboat ride of course! #schoolholidays #familytravel #RapidsJet #Taupo #NZNature #JetBoat #NZ #NZTravel