• A cyclist ride along Huka Trails

    Top Taupō must-do’s you just can’t experience anywhere else

April 11, 2022

With such a variety of incredible destinations on offer across Aotearoa, choosing your next weekend getaway can be a tricky task. Luckily for you, Taupō offers a rich tapestry of nature, culture, action, and adventure all woven into one stunning location, so you’re guaranteed to find something to suit every travel style. If that wasn’t convincing enough, there’s plenty of unique sights and activities that simply can’t be seen elsewhere. Become the envy of your Instagram followers and create some magical holiday memories by taking on an ‘only-in-Taupō’ activity – here’s a few to get you started! 

Hike the spetacular Tongariro Crossing  

One of New Zealand’s most popular one-day treks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an epic journey across a breathtaking alpine landscape. Those who complete the 19km adventure will tell you the climbs can be steep and the track demanding, but the dramatic scenery and awe-inspiring views are worth every step.  

The hike features many of New Zealand’s iconic naturescapes, from emerald lakes to volcanic craters and cool green forest, and on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with views across to Lake Taupō and Mount Taranaki. Allow 7-8 hours to complete the crossing – and ensure you’ve checked the weather forecast and are adequately prepared for a day in an ever-changing landscape. 

Green lake on top of a snowy mountain

Experience ‘surfing’ on a jetboat  

The jetboat is a legendary Kiwi invention, and while many rivers and lakes across New Zealand are home to thrilling jetboat experiences, Taupō’s Rapids Jet is unlike any other. Jump aboard for a 35-minute ride zooming along the Waikato River, past beautiful shorelines and along plenty of twists and turns that will leave you shrieking with laughter and adrenaline.  

The highlight is the bubbling pressure waves of the famous Nga Awa Purua rapids (translating to ‘river of springs’). Your skilled jetboat driver will take you ‘surfing’ on these exhilarating white water rapids, as you soak up the colourful scenery and history around you. 

A jet boat riding through white water rapids

Mountain bike to some ferocious falls 

There aren’t many cycle trails out there that combine native bush with geothermal wonders and a powerful 11-metre high waterfall, but Taupō’s Rotary Ride does just that! Journey along the Waikato River from the town centre to the famous Huka Falls – New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. Hire a mountain bike or an e-bike from Taupō Bike Hire and get exploring – these intermediate-level tracks are the perfect half-day cycling fix. Pack a snack or two to enjoy along one of the many scenic lookouts along the ridgeline – it’ll be a ride to remember

A cyclist ride along Huka Trails

Marvel at Māori rock carvings

Kayaking in Lake Taupō is a feast for the eyes, as you paddle past bush-clad hills, rugged cliffs and secluded bays. However, the real treat lies in Mine Bay, as you turn the corner and are greeted by the larger-than-life Ngatoroirangi Māori Rock Carvings. Etched on the rockface by marae-taught artist Matahi Brightwell in 1976, these 14-metre-tall carvings have become known as one of the country’s most extraordinary contemporary Māori artworks. Exclusively reached by water, grab discover rich cultural stories on a guided tour with one of the lake’s many kayak operators – or hire a motorised kayak to cruise on out to the carvings hassle-free.

A kayaker looking a rock carvings

Go doughboating on the lake

Experience New Zealand’s only donut boat on Lake Taupō! You and up to five friends can jump aboard the electric-powered donut and cruise along the lake’s shoreline. Take a picnic basket, a chilly bin and some tunes for the built-in Bluetooth speaker, and you’re all set for a scenic picnic or a romantic sunset cruise. You can even pre-order a pizza or a grazing platter to enjoy on the water. Super Instagrammable and complete with fun multi-coloured lights at night, it’s a quirky and fun experience that all ages will love.

People in a doughboat on a lake

Taupō has so much more to offer than just a stroll along the great lake. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a Taupō regular, we hope you enjoy experiencing something new and different on your upcoming holiday!

Laugh, scream, and feel alive as we blast through the mighty Waikato River. Get ready for non-stop fun! 💦💥 #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ
“The 1st rapids are exhilarating, the 3rd set were monstrous, what an adrenalin rush. 5 stars out of 5 🌟🤩⭐️🌠🖖” Thanks for this incredible Google Review, Jay! #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ #googlereview
Nau mai haere mai i te ngā wai rere o te awa. We welcome you to come experience the rushing waters of the river. Happy Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori! (Māori Language Week). How will you celebrate? #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ #maorilanguageweek #tewikiotereomaori
Rapids Jet: Defying gravity since ’93 🚤 📷: @Steve Penny #RapidsJet #JetBoatingNZ #TaupoThrills #NaturePlayground #AdrenalineRush #ExploreTaupo #RiverAdventure #AotearoaAdventures #PureNewZealand #NZMustDo #ExploreNZ #KiwiAdventures #TravelNZ
Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Huka Falls area on two wheels. Crisp air, stunning scenery, and plenty of photo ops await – there’s a ride for everyone, no matter your skill level or cycle experience 🚴‍♀‍ Journey along the 14km-return Huka Falls to Aratiatia Dam Trail and you’ll be rewarded with river views, lush native bush and hidden geothermal wonders. Time to strap on your helmet and start pedalling! #rapidsjet #taupo #nzmustdo #jetboat #holiday #getaway
Life is like a river – it's full of twists, turns, and unexpected rapids. Embrace the unknown and ride the waves to exciting new horizons! 🌊 #rapidsjet #nzmustdo #nature #travelgram #taupo #northisland
Caption this! 💦 #jetboat #taupo #nzmustdo #funtimes #adrenalinerush #thrills #purenewzealand
From the heart-racing to the awe-inspiring – our combo with @tepaturotorua is sure to ignite all your senses 🤩 Prepare to be amazed by the power of the Waikato River’s rapids, and captivated by traditional Māori performance and cuisine. Their current Tū Te Ihi winter celebration pays tribute to the time of year when the Matariki cluster of stars sit high and bright in our winter skies, as we reflect on the legacy of our ancestors and acknowledge the year that has been. Book via the link in our bio! ✨ #RapidsJet #Taupo #TePaTu #Rotorua #MaoriCulture #nzmustdo
Looking for a thrill that will leave you breathless? Look no further! Our jetboats are fueled by adrenaline and designed for speed 🚤😍 www.rapidsjet.com
Travelling around Aotearoa to catch all the football action? ⚽🏆 Just two hours from Waikato Stadium, and right by Taupo and Rotorua, our fast-paced jetboat ride is the perfect way to keep up the thrills between games! #nzmustdo #travelgram #mustdonewzealand #rapidsjet #jetboat
The gates of Taupō's Aratiatia Dam are released several times per day, turning a calm and peaceful trickle into the roaring, thunderous Aratiatia Rapids! View this spectacular sight from a series of lookouts, then come play in the rapids with us aboard our bright-yellow jetboats 🚤🌊 #AratiatiaDam #rapidsjet #nzmustdo #ifyouseeknz #spectacle #instatravel