Top Things to Do in Taupo, New Zealand

This lakefront town is perfect for outdoor adventurers

In the middle of New Zealand's North Island, you'll find many things to do in Taupo. This town on Lake Taupo has often been described as the adventure capital of the North Island. If you're active and outdoorsy, find out some of the best things to do during your visit.

  • 01 of 10

    Walk Around Huka Falls

    Huka Falls, Taupo
    Huka Falls, Taupo. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    At these falls, the outflow of Lake Taupo into the Waikato River gushes through a narrow gorge at the rate of 200,000 liters per second with spectacular effect. It's an amazing sight and there are several viewing points. There is also a nice walk from here along the river bank back into town. The return journey takes a couple hours.

  • 02 of 10

    Soak in the DeBretts Hot Springs Thermal Pools

    Spa. Image Courtesy of

    Taupo is in the center of a large thermal area that also includes Rotorua and White Island. This pool complex is not far from Taupo and is on the highway leading to Napier. With two outdoor pools and some private pools to choose from, this is a relaxing thing to do in Taupo that will soothe muscles after hiking or skiing. 

  • 03 of 10

    Take a Lake Cruise on the Barbary

    Relaxing sailing on Barbary
    Relaxing sailing on Barbary. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm


    A day sail aboard this century-old yacht is one of the best ways to see Lake Taupo. The historic ketch Barbary has been sailing these waters for more than 30 years. The trip includes a visit to the famous Maori carvings, which are etched into the rocks above Mine Bay.

  • 04 of 10

    Traverse the Craters of the Moon

    File:Craters of the moon,Taupo - měsíční krátery v Taupo - panoramio - Thajsko (3).jpg
    Google Images Wikimedia

    This aptly-named geothermal area is filled with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents, and ​sulfurous gases. As the closest public thermal attraction to Taupo, it is a fascinating and worthwhile stop.​​

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  • 05 of 10

    Smell the Roses at Waipahihi Botanical Gardens

    Taupo Botanic Gardens
    Taupo Botanic Gardens. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    Actually, there's much more to these gardens than just roses. You'll also find a large variety of native and exotic plants in a lovely elevated setting overlooking the Lake Taupo.

  • 06 of 10

    Play Golf at the Wairakei International Golf Course

    Wairakei International Golf Course
    Wairakei International Golf Course. Image Courtesy of Getty Images/David Cannon

    Wairakei International Golf Course is one of the finest and best-known golf courses in New Zealand. Set in the geothermal area of Wairakei on the outskirts of town, it also boasts a hotel, restaurants, and conference center. Perhaps the best thing about this championship course is that it serves double duty as a wildlife sanctuary.

  • 07 of 10

    Go Fishing on Lake Taupo

    File:Rangatira Point, Lake Taupo.jpg
    Google Images Wikimedia

    Lake Taupo and the rivers feeding it are an international mecca for trout fishing and have been since both rainbow and brown trout were introduced more than 120 years ago. Hire a boat or a guide to fish from the lake, which is New Zealand's largest. Alternatively, the Tongariro River at the southern end of the lake is a superb place to do some land-based fly casting.

  • 08 of 10

    Jet Boat on the Waikato River

    Jet Boat on the Waikato River

    The areas around the Huka Falls or the Aratiatia Dam are great places to get some adrenaline pumping on a thrilling jet boat ride. The jet boat was invented in New Zealand as a way to explore the country's vast network of waterways and this area offers some of the best jet boating in the North Island.

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  • 09 of 10

    Go Skiing at Whakapapa

    Skiing on Whakapapa
    Skiing on Whakapapa. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    The Whakapapa skifield in the Tongariro National Park is less than an hour and a half from the Taupo township. It is New Zealand's largest commercial ski field, with runs to suit all ages and abilities.

  • 10 of 10

    Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing
    Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    Located in the fictional Land of Mordor from "The Lord of the Rings," Tongariro Alpine Crossing is regarded as the best one-day hike in New Zealand. It traverses Mount Tongariro in the national park and has stunning landscapes and views. This is one of the best things to do in Taupo, so don't miss out.