17 Fun Things to Do in Taupo New Zealand Around the Lake

things to do in Taupo

Looking for fun and exciting things to do in Taupo New Zealand? Then welcome to the premier destination for outdoor lovers on the North Island! From endless hiking trails to natural hot spring pools, we’ll dive into all the best parts of Lake Taupo.


17 Fun Things to do in Taupo New Zealand

1. Walk the Great Lake Pathway 

It’s only right that we start our Taupo things to do blog off with one of the most popular trails! Also known as the Lion’s Walk, this awesome pathway starts in town and lines the lakefront.

Continuing all the way to 5 Mile Bay, you can bike or walk for hours with plenty of swimming spots in between. There’s an abundance of great hiking and walking paths around Lake Taupo, and this is one of the most gorgeous.

Make sure to stop into the Two Mile Bay Sailing Club for a pizza and local beer as well.

things to do in Taupo NZ

2. Bike the Great Lake Trail

If you liked walking the Great Lake Pathway then you’ll love taking a bike ride on this scenic track! The Great Lake Trail most commonly starts from Kinloch and is split into four sections.

As one of the best biking trails in New Zealand, people travel from far and wide take on the Great Lake Trail. Bike shops in Taupo offer everything from multi-day rentals to guided day trips, and rental gear.

Taupo Bike Trail

3. Witness the Power of Huka Falls

Seeing this famous waterfall along the Waikato River should be at the top of your  Taupo things to do list. It may not be as large as some of the waterfalls you’ve seen. However, what it lacks in height it makes up for in sheer power!

Believe it or not, Huka Falls pumps out an astonishing 200,000 liters of water per second. One of the most popular things to do in Taupo is to take a 30 minute jet boat ride to get right up close to the water. You can also walk to the waterfall along  directly from town!

Taupo to Huka Falls Walk: Fun Route, Hot Springs, & More!

Huka Falls

4. Soak in the Otumuheke Thermal Springs 

If you’re a thermal lover like us then there are some amazing hot springs to enjoy around Lake Taupo New Zealand. Many of the pools are located inside of spa parks or hotels so Otumuheke is your chance to experience them in nature.

The thermal springs sit on top of each other, flowing together until they spill out into the Waikato River. These hot pools are located conveniently at the start of the Huka Falls hike, but you may want to save them for the end to have a nice warm soak! 

Otumuheke Hot Springs

5. Lake Taupo Bungy 

New Zealand is viewed by many as the adventure sport capital of the world, and that can definitely be seen in all the fun things to do in Taupo. Hanging 47 meters over the Waikato River, this popular plunge has been rewarding thrill seekers for years.

Taupo holds the title as New Zealand’s highest cliff-top bungy but one of the biggest in the world is actually located in Queenstown. Other extreme things to do in Taupo include hang gliding, jet skiing, skydiving, and river rafting. 

Taupo New Zealand Bungy 

6. Hike Up Mount Tauhara

Looking for the best view of Lake Taupo? Well, Mount Tauhara is a good place to start! This 2.5 km climb goes through the countryside, up into the forest, and high above Taupo New Zealand for a 360 view of the beautiful lake and its surroundings.

There are plenty of other areas to do some hiking, but none will have a view as of the lake as spectacular as this one. On a clear day you can even see the Mount Ngauruhoe volcano in the distance.

→ Mount Tauhara: Fun 3 Hour Hike Above Lake Taupo New Zealand

Taupo New Zealand Hike

7. Craters of the Moon

While we’re on the topic… Did you know Lake Taupo is actually volcanic crater formed by an eruption over 26,500 years ago? Crazy right!? New Zealand is full of volcanic activity and there’s no place better to see it than at the Craters of the Moon.

An area just north of Lake Taupo started to heat up and steam in the 1950’s creating craters of boiling mud and geothermal activity. You can now walk through on wooden boardwalks and marvel at this incredible nature for yourself. 

Taupo NZ Things to Do

8. Hunt for Lake Taupo Street Art

When we first arrived in this part of New Zealand we were ready for Lake Taupo hiking, swimming, and all the outdoor fun that came with it. Still, we weren’t expecting to find such a thriving street art scene.

The Graffiato Street Art Festival started in 2011, and local artists have now painted over 85 murals around town. Pick up a tourist map and explore the backstreets of Lake Taupo to take in these colorful murals.

→ Taupo Street Art: How to Find the Graffiato Murals of New Zealand

Taupo New Zealand Street Art

9. Eat at the Famous McDonalds 

The global restaurant chain is affectionately known as “Maccas” around the country, and the most famous one is located in Taupo town. So what separates this McDonald’s from the rest? Well, there’s a giant Douglas DC3 aircraft sitting out in front to start!

It was originally purchased by the mayor of Lake Taupo in 1985, but then ended up being acquired by McDonald’s. You can also go inside the planes cockpit and even eat your Kiwi burger inside it.

Fun Taupo Things to Do

10. See the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens 

Up on a hill above Lake Taupo sits the beautiful Waipahihi Botanical Gardens. Here you can see New Zealand’s many unique plant species and the countless birds that inhabit the forest. The reserve is home to over 2,000 azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias, as well as other native flora.

The coolest part about the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens is that it was built from scratch by residents of Taupo New Zealand since the 1960’s. Every year more and more gorgeous flowers are added to the ever-growing gardens. 

Best Taupo Things to Do

11. Explore Wairakei Thermal Valley

If you haven’t figured it out yet, some of the best things to do in Taupo are exploring its nearby geothermal parks! The Wairakei Thermal Valley will be fun for the whole family as you walk through hot mud pools, ancient rock formations, and even check out the infamous “Champagne Cauldron.” Wairakei also has campsites available if you’d like to spend the night.

Taupo Thermal Valley

12. Jet Down the Aratiatia Rapids

Many of the most fun things to do in Lake Taupo are centered around the Waikato River that surges into it. At one unique spot on the river they release thousands of liters of water from the Aratiatia Dam which then flows through a gorge.

You may recognize these rapids from the movie “The Hobbit” and Lord of the Rings saga. Since you can not swim in the Aratiatia Rapids, the best way to see it is by taking the Rapids Jet Boat Tour and blasting right through!

13. Visit the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

Honestly, it’d be almost impossible to visit Lake Taupo without hearing about this amazing rock carving. The only problem is it’s just a little difficult to get to!

The traditional Maori carving was completed in 1980 by Matahi Brightwell and has since become one of the best things to do in Taupo. Since it was carved into a rock wall facing the lake, the only way to get there is by taking a boat.

All the popular companies run daily 1.5 hour boat cruises or you can jump on a beautiful sailboat for a more unique experience. 

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

14. Go to Rangatira Point

Just around the corner from the Maori Rock Carving is another unique Lake Taupo hiking trail! The Rangatira Point walk takes you from the road along the water, and then eventually out to the large rocks.

The rocks range from 5 to 10 feet high which makes them perfect for jumping off into the lake. Like we mentioned above, there’s unfortunately no way to walk to the Maori Rock Carving so you’ll need to take a boat or kayak. 

Fun Things to Do in Taupo

15. Hit the Lake Taupo Hole in One 

As you’re driving along Lake Taupo into town you’ll notice a golf set up on the water. Hole in One offers you the chance to win big bucks, but hitting this shot is no easy task.

Three different holes sit out on the water for an attempt to win 10,000 NZD! The sign out front claims someone hits it once every 2 weeks so it’s definitely worth a try for some extra spending money.

Hole in One Taupo

16. Swim at Hot Water Beach

While there are many thermal spas and hotels offering the geothermal experience, there’s nothing like getting it right in Lake Taupo! Next door to the Sacred Waters Apartments there’s a special spot where the thermal river drips into the lake.

From here you’ll find a stretch of warm water a different temperature than the rest of Lake Taupo. As you can imagine, this is especially nice in the colder winter months.

Lake Taupo Hot Water Beach

17. Grab a Drink at Crafty TROUT Brewery

Thirsty after all these amazing Taupo things to do?? Crafty TROUT has the feel of an alpine ski lodge with so many delicious beers on tap. Our favorite was the hefeweizen, but they have more great options and tastings available.

Crafty TROUT Brewery

Where To Stay In Lake Taupo

Ultra Luxury – Serenity On Wakeman – Positioned perfectly on the water, this fantastic hotel has everything you’ll need for an upscale stay in Taupo. Enjoy stunning views from your private balcony, a delicious breakfast, and all the amenities you’d expect in lakefront luxury. 

Fun Vacation – Acacia Lake View Motel – This comfy motel is located just a short walk from town and is directly across the street from Lake Taupo. Offering apartment and hotel style units, the Acacia Lake View is a great spot for both families and couples. 

Travel Couple Taupo Debretts Spa Resort – Ready for some more hot spring thermal baths? With your stay at Taupo Debretts Spa Resort you’ll be able to enjoy them any time of the day. This fun resort has many other spa treatments available, is just a quick drive from town, and has a range of room options.

Hostel LifeYHA Taupo Finlay Jack’s Backpackers – Located walking distance to the lake, bars, Huka Falls Jet, and famous Lake Taupo Bungy jump. This hostel offers both private rooms and dorm beds.

For more places to stay in Lake Taupo you can explore the latest prices here!

Where to Stay Taupo New Zealand

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Taupo New Zealand? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this post!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar


New Zealand Travel Planning 

Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Island’s in a van and loved every moment.

 Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.

 Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also,  Hostelworld should be your go to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials


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