• 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!

POV: You’re a jetboat driver navigating the thrilling twists and turns of the Waikato River’s Aratiatia Rapids 🚤 #WhiteWaterRafting #NZ #NZtravel #Taupo #RapidsJet #NZadventures #Adrenaline
Your front row seat to the ultimate winter adventure 🙌 Credit: Ian Sadler #WhiteWaterRafting #NZactivities #FamilyFriendly #NZwinter
More family fun, more thrills, more savings 🚤💸 We’ve turbocharged our family special, and up to 2 Kids Ride Free these holidays! Taupō’s jetboat ride of a lifetime just got even better with this epic deal – up to $170 in savings and a whole lot of whitewater fun 💦 Use promocode: 2KIDSFREE when booking online. #jetboat #taupo #lovetaupo #whitewater #familyfun #schoolholidaysnz
Buckle up for a wild ride! Fasten your seatbelts for a thrilling experience. Get ready for white-water action and breathtaking views. Tag a friend who needs a dose of adrenaline ❤️ #RapidsJet #WhiteWaterRafting #Taupo #NZ #NZtravel #northisland
Just a casual day at the Rapids Jet “office”! 💦 Leave your guesses in the comments on what happens next! 👇 #Adrenaline #NZ #northisland #Taupo #RapidsJet
Splashing, soaking, no worries! These smiles say it all 😁 #RapidsJet #Aratiatia #Taupo #NZ
Ready for the ultimate school holiday escape? Unleash some serious family fun with a thrilling jet boat ride through the rapids. Get ready for screams of joy, laughter, and memories that will last for a lifetime ❤️ Visit the link in bio for access to our exclusive family deal! #SchoolHolidays #NZ #NZadventures #RapidsJet #NorthIsland
No speed cameras around here – we’re like Ferraris on the water! 🚤 #RapidsJet #AratiatiaRapids #NZ #adventure #NZtravel #NZmustdo
Bluebird days 👌 📷: Natalia Rik #Taupo #NZscenery #NZlakes #RapidsJet
Safety first for our furry coworker! Happy #TakeYourDogToWorkDay to all the good boys and girls out there 🐶 #Taupo #RapidsJet #NZscenery #NZtravel #adventure #NorthIsland
Trading in the slopes for some white-water rapids? ❄️ Rapids Jet offers an exhilarating winter adventure you won't forget! #RapidsJet #Taupo #NZexperiences #NZwinter #NorthIsland
Hold on tight! The Aratiatia Rapids rolls out quite the impressive welcome mat 😎 Did you know the rapids are released three times a day in winter, sending out a torrent of cascading water from the dam gates? Credit: @Torisgoodlife #RapidsJet #Taupo #NZadventure #ThrillSeeker #Aratiatia #NZtravel #NZmustdo