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The Top Things to do in Taupo

Take a trip to Taupo and you’ll soon realise it’s a playground for the adventurer, enriched with culture and an inland sea and a volcanic landscape that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The NZ holiday destination offers countless activities and attractions all year round centred on Lake Taupo. From serene cruises to cliff-hanger experiences, jet boat rides to kayak tours with views of Maori Rock carvings, Taupo has it all. Browse and book the experiences below to make your Taupo adventure extraordinary.

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Huka Falls Jet Boat Tour
Huka Falls Jet Boat Tour by Huka Falls Jet

Huka Falls Jet Boating experience is renowned as one of the best jet boat rides in New Zealand an adventure that is not to be missed when visiting Taupo!

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    Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise
    Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise by Chris Jolly Outdoors

    Take in the best of a combination of the Taupo region's impressive natural scenery as well as Maori culture with this 1.5 hour sightseeing cruise package.

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      4Play Ultimate Taupo Package
      4Play Ultimate Taupo Package by Taupo Tandem Skydiving

      Experience Taupo and combine four fantastic adventure activities in one day! A bungy jump, scenic helicopter ride, a Huka jet boat ride, and tandem skydive!

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        Tongariro Crossing Guided Day Walk
        Tongariro Crossing Guided Day Walk by Adrift Tongariro

        Join this amazing 7-8 hour trek across the famed Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand's Taupo region for an unmatched alpine hiking adventure.

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          Guided Sunset Tongariro Walk
          Guided Sunset Tongariro Walk by Adrift Tongariro

          Hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing at sunset with this guided tour. Taking in the impressive views & snap some awesome photos, book your spot here.

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            Experience Oz Gift Vouchers Woman On Sail Boat Give The Gift Of Memories

            Let your special someone choose their own Taupo Experience.

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            Taupo Bungy Jumping Experience
            Taupo Bungy Jumping Experience by Taupo Bungy

            Experience an exhilarating 47 metre drop with the Taupo Bungy Jumping experience!

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              Guided Tongariro Crossing Tour with Lord of The Rings Highlights
              Guided Tongariro Crossing Tour with Lord of The Rings Highlights by Adrift Tongariro

              Tour Mt Ruapehu with this half day Volcanic Explorer guided tour. Taking you to some of the best parts of the mountain, book your tour here!

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                Taupo Cruise Helicopter and Jet Boating Combo
                Taupo Cruise Helicopter and Jet Boating Combo

                The ultimate dose of Taupo sightseeing and fun, this pass includes a Huka Falls jet boat ride, scenic helicopter flight and 1.5 hour Lake Taupo cruise.

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                  Taupo Swing Experience
                  Taupo Swing Experience by Taupo Bungy

                  Experience Taupo from a different angle with this exhilarating Taupo Swing Experience.

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                    Full Day 20 Tunnel Rail Cart Experience
                    Full Day 20 Tunnel Rail Cart Experience by Forgotten World Adventures

                    Discover the Forgotten World scenic railway line on this full day tour travelling through 20 tunnels and lush country farms and native bushland.

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                      Taupo Skydiving
                      Taupo Skydiving by Taupo Tandem Skydiving

                      Check an item off your bucket list and book a Taupo skydive online, with jumps of 12,000ft and 15,000ft available above stunning NZ scenery!

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                        Experience Oz Gift Vouchers
                        Experience Oz Gift Vouchers by Experience Oz
                        5.0

                        Buy an experience gift voucher online here and let your friends, family or colleagues choose their own experience. Gift vouchers are valid for 3 years.

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                        H2 Ohh White Water Combo
                        H2 Ohh White Water Combo by Huka Falls Jet

                        This adventurous Taupo sightseeing tour combo includes the Huka Jet Boat experience and a thrilling White Water Rafting trip on the scenic Tongariro River!

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                          Taupo Breweries Tour with Lake Cruise
                          Taupo Breweries Tour with Lake Cruise by

                          Explore the beauty of Taupo and good food and beer on this day tour that includes a 1.5 hour scenic lake cruise, set lunch and craft brewery tastings!

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                            The Squeeze & Jet Boat Ride
                            The Squeeze & Jet Boat Ride by New Zealand Riverjet

                            Experience the thrill of speeding around the Tutukau Gorge with the jet boat and thermal squeeze experience - book online now to begin your next adventure!

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                              35 Minute Waikato River Jet Boating Experience
                              35 Minute Waikato River Jet Boating Experience by New Zealand Riverjet

                              Get a combined dose of adrenaline and scenery with this 35 minute, high-octane jet boat ride on the waters of the mighty Waikato River near Rotorua, NZ.

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                                Half Day Waikato River Jet Boating Tour
                                Half Day Waikato River Jet Boating Tour by New Zealand Riverjet

                                Get an extended look at the Rotorua region's natural scenery along with 75 minutes of jet boating thrills on this 3 hour Waikato River adventure.

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                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ

                                  Few destinations in New Zealand walk the line between providing their visitors with an adrenaline rush, some highly accessible sightseeing and pure relaxation as well as Taupo – a lake resort area smack-bang in the middle of NZ's North Island – does.

                                  Featuring a massive lake from which it derives its name and surrounded by a variety of contrasting scenery from wild river rapids to lush national park and steamy geothermal areas, the Taupo region opens up opportunities for adventure of all kinds to offer a massive variety of things to see, do, and experience.

                                  Offering completely different focuses in the summer and winter seasons, Taupo allows visitors to enjoy the best of both worlds of New Zealand; summer is all about the water, with both the lake and its numerous nearby falls and tributaries offering a range of experiences for those looking to get out and about – fishing, sailing, jet boating, kayaking and more are all on the cards here.

                                  Winter sees things shift to snow sports, with easy access to nearby ski fields, and also taking advantage of its geothermal activity to enjoy naturally heated pools and springs to erase the chill from the bones while overlooking some spectacular scenery.

                                  Whether you're planning to embrace adventure or dial things back and simply absorb the beautiful surrounds, here's our list of recommendations for the top things to do in Taupo, NZ.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Take a Huka Falls Jet Boat Ride

                                  1. Take a Huka Falls Jet Boat Ride

                                  Location: Karetoto Road, Taupo, NZ

                                  All the water in the Taupo region has to go somewhere, and this is exemplified to the fullest in dramatic fashion by the rushing expanse of Huka Falls. One of New Zealand's most visited natural attractions – and with good cause – Huka Falls' sheer power is amazing; over 220,000 litres of water are pumped through their 100m-wide opening on the Waikato River before emptying their contents into the awaiting maw of Lake Taupo.

                                  The falls combination of force and striking colour are a large part of what makes them unique, with the bright blue a result of air bubbles in the water causing it to appear an even more intense colour than solely reflected by the sky.

                                  The number of viewing platforms are set up around the falls that are both easily accessible from Taupo and allow for some great photo ops; a popular tourist track called Spa Park is one of the best options, just a short trip from Taupo with plenty of parking and from which eads to the signed Huka Falls Trail that passes through a range of charming forested areas before emerging alongside the river overlooking the falls themselves.

                                  Regular buses make the run from Taupo to the Huka Falls carpark throughout the day, so getting there for those who don't have private transport is a breeze.

                                  The mesmerising force and colour of Huka Falls are what makes them unique. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the falls with the best being a tour from local jet boat operator Huka Falls Jet. Tour itineraries cover the falls as well as the surrounding areas of the river. This is a must-do in Taupo.

                                  A range of other walking and biking tracks in the area around the falls are also available should you wish to view them from a different angle, and these make for decent multi-hour journeys through a blend of exotic and native NZ bush with stops that are ideal for a picnic, with the sound of the falls rumbling in the distance. These range from easy to strenuous and a number of distances, enabling those of all ages and abilities to enjoy the area.

                                  Jet boats can often be seen approaching the falls from the viewing areas, and local operator Huka Falls Jet offer tours that make their way across Lake Taupo and approach the falls from the base, which can make for quite a visceral, impressive and noisy experience. Their tour itineraries cover the falls as well as the surrounding areas of the river, and are the quintessential "Taupo adventure" activity.

                                  The Gold Coast's whale watching operators are renowned for having spacious viewing decks on their vessels that provide great, uninhibited views of the whales without disturbing them, so if you've ever wanted to go whale watching or are just a fan of all things marine, then this is another great thing to do in Surfers Paradise.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Go Bungy Jumping

                                  2. Go Bungy Jumping

                                  Location: Spa Road, Taupo, NZ

                                  There are few activities that are more “New Zealand” than bungy jumping, and Taupo's answer to the extreme activity is one of the best available in NZ.

                                  One of the main regions for this is the scenery; while first-time jumpers will likely have one too many butterflies in their stomach to fully appreciate it, the Taupo Bungy site is in an impressively picturesque spot on a cliff top above the Waikato River just upstream from Huka Falls (see further below) which offers wonderful views of the water below and the greenery beyond.

                                  The adrenaline rush provided by the jump is the undoubted highlight however, and Taupo's bungy experience includes a 47 metre free-fall towards the water awaiting below; and this site's unique cantilever design allows for something that sets it apart from others: the “water touch” option, in which you'll have the option to splash into the river below getting anywhere from just your hands to your entire body wet!

                                  The staff at Taupo Bungy are a key highlight as well, which might seem an odd thing to tout as a feature – however for those battling nerves the personal attention and patience they show can go a long way to establishing a feeling of comfort before taking the plunge.

                                  The adrenaline rush provided by the jump is the undoubted highlight however, and Taupo's bungy experience includes a 47 metre free-fall towards the water awaiting below; and this site's unique cantilever design allows for something that sets it apart from others.

                                  The facility also has a pristine track record as far as safety is concerned, with all the latest in harness and bungee equipment both utilised and properly maintained to a fault. Options are available for both solo and tandem bungy jumps, so if you're wanting to share this bucket-list experience with a friend then you're free to do so upon request.

                                  For those who are a little too squeamish to book a jump but still wish to see their friends participate, they're welcome to join along up the top of the viewing tower to take in the scenery and grab their own snapshots of their buddy making the jump.

                                  Post-jump, video and photo documentation of your plunge are available in both DVD and digital forms, and while not exactly cheap, they're still essentially a must-buy as they're far higher quality than what most will be able to capture personally.

                                  In all, most will say you haven't truly “done” New Zealand unless you've done a bungy, and with its combination of scenery, service and splashes, Taupo makes for one of the best spots in the country to do so.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Taupo Cliffhanger Experience

                                  3. Taupo Cliffhanger Experience

                                  Location: 202 Spa Rd, Taupo

                                  It’s no secret that New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world and Taupo has so many extreme adrenaline pumping activities to push you out of your comfort zone including a ‘cliff hanging experience’.

                                  This is New Zealand’s most extreme swing operating 44 metres above the Waikato River. Similar to a bungy jump, dare devils will strap in for a free fall swing experience.

                                  Soak through the skies reaching speeds up to 70 km an hour and swing feet first above the river from the cliffs edge right down to crystal clear waters below before arcing up again at nearly 180 degrees.

                                  If you would like to give bungy jumping a try but are just too squeamish to go head first then this may be the perfect solution for you.

                                  Up to two riders can jump on the Taupo Cliffhanger so you can find emotional support or simply have a laugh with a friend.

                                  If the potential adrenaline rush is not enough to tempt you then perhaps the amazing views of Taupo from the cliff will help you decide to give this incredible yet safe experience a go.

                                  The Taupo Cliffhanger is open to everyone between the age of 10 with the oldest participant so far 90 years old! The Taupo Cliffhanger experience is available daily from 9.30am to 5pm.

                                  Take a walk on the wild side and step out of your comfort zone in beautiful natural surroundings with the Taupo Cliffhanger.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Sail on Lake Taupo

                                  4. Sail on Lake Taupo

                                  Location: Lake Taupo, Taupo, NZ

                                  Lake Taupo helps make the Taupo region what it is, so it's only natural that getting out and enjoying its waters is going to be one of the top things to do in the area. Furthermore, sailing is one of the great iconic New Zealand pastimes, and when you combine the two you've got one of the most memorable and peaceful ways to enjoy this massive body of water to the fullest.

                                  One of Taupo's core summertime activities, sailing adventures are a staple way to venture out onto the vast expanse of the lake, and sailing boats can be spotted travelling from highlight to highlight or simply floating lazily in the sunshine.

                                  Sailing tours to Lake Taupo's range of must-see spots are thus incredibly popular, with different itineraries available to cater to what guests are looking for – whether it be taking in the Lake's famously beautiful sunsets, enjoying a lunch or dinner cruise, or getting an up-close glimpse at its famous Maori carvings.

                                  These Maori rock carvings are particularly impressive, over 10 metres in height and only accessible from the water – and despite their relatively young age (they were carved at the end of the 1970's by master carver Matahi Whakataka as a depiction of one of Taupo's original Maori navigators many years ago) they still emanate a sense of spiritual significance that can be felt by anyone who makes the trip out to see them up close.

                                  One of Taupo's core summertime activities, sailing adventures are a staple way to venture out onto the vast expanse of the lake, and sailing boats can be spotted travelling from highlight to highlight.

                                  The carvings lie in Lake Taupo's Mine Bay, and sailing cruises to reach them provide a great way to get an ideal vantage point for both observation and photography – and the sheltered waters are a great spot for a swim on warmer days. These “Maori” cruises also typically provide a detailed oral history on the original local inhabitants and their customs, which history and culture buffs are sure to enjoy.

                                  One such cruise is offered by regional operator Sail Barbary, who provide trips to these local icons at a highly reasonable price point. With a vessel teeming with vintage charm and equipped with on-board audiovisual entertainment as well as various amenities to help make the journey as comfortable as possible, it's both an indulgent - and eco-friendly - way to soak in one of the Taupo region's most famed spectacles.

                                  Lake Taupo's waters can only be truly appreciated while navigating through their heart, and sailing cruises represent a satisfying, laid-back and reasonably-priced way to do so.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Go Skydiving with Taupo Tandem Skydiving

                                  5. Go Skydiving with Taupo Tandem Skydiving

                                  Location: Taupo Airport, Taupo, NZ

                                  Bungy jumping simply not extreme enough for you? No problem, as Taupo also specialises in taking things even higher with a range of skydiving experiences available that allow the confident (and steel-bladdered) among us the chance to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

                                  The freefall – with options available that allow for jumps of up to 15,000 feet (that's 1,000 feet higher than the average maximum height in Australia) – takes place above all the spectacular natural scenery of the greater Taupo region, and both the dive and the plane ride up provide stunning views all the way out to both coasts on clearer days. This also helps to give skydivers a humbling perspective on just how immense Lake Taupo truly is; it's roughly the size of Singapore, a fact that only truly hits home when viewed from high above.

                                  The experience kicks off with a briefing on jump options – such as a choice of altitudes to jump from and camera/recording selections should you wish to purchase video footage of your skydive – and is followed by gearing up and a safety check from your jump master, with crews at all the major skydiving operators in the Taupo region highly regarded for their customer care and willingness to answer any questions visitors may have.

                                  The freefall – with options available that allow for jumps of up to 15,000 feet (that's 1,000 feet higher than the average maximum height in Australia) – takes place above all the spectacular natural scenery of the greater Taupo region.

                                  Once you're all equipped, it's time to board a light aircraft and embark on a spectacular little flight up above Taupo's amazing geography to the appropriate height (takes an average of 20 minutes depending on your jump choice), during which you'll be able to see various local regional highlights such as the various snow-capped volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park and its vast green expanses of forest and rivers.

                                  The jump itself, of course, is the undisputed highlight, and depending on which altitude you've chosen once the green light kicks in and you and your tandem partner leap from the plane, you'll get either 45 seconds (for 12,000 foot jumps) or 60 seconds (15,000 foot jumps) worth of freefall sensation before the chute options and you'll be able to float gentle down to the landing area at the drop zone, taking in all the spectacle along the way.

                                  Local skydiving operator Taupo Tandem Skydiving come highly recommended and are renowned for their customer care - in addition, keep an eye out for seasonal specials or which optional extras you'd like to have included to help round out your experience.

                                  For a rush and spectacular views at the same time, nothing beats skydiving, and few skydiving spots in NZ can beat Taupo.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Visit Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

                                  6. Visit Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

                                  Location: Orakei Korako Road, Taupo, NZ

                                  Taking the geothermal experience to even greater heights is the Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. Boasting the most active geysers of any park of its kind in New Zealand, visitors will see the geothermal world of hot springs, mud pools and spouting geysers to a new level.

                                  also known as “The Hidden Valley”, which takes the geothermal world of hot springs, mud pools and spouting geysers to a whole other level. Boasting the most active geysers of any park of its kind in New Zealand, Orakei Korako and some of the most diverse colours of any geo-based attraction in the country, and is just 25 minutes' worth of scenic rural drive from Taupo.

                                  It also feels far lest “touristy” than similar attractions found in Rotorua, as it's both generally less populated and less commercialised, and efforts have been made to keep the setting feeling as “natural” as possible.

                                  Accessed via a lovely short boat trip across a lake, the Geothermal Park is very well laid out and features a number of beautifully constructed wooden walkways that allow for easily-accessed, up close viewing of the various springs and flora contained within.

                                  The walk winds its way over the course of roughly 90 minutes from hot pool to spring to silica terrace featuring all the colours of the sulfurous rainbow, and guests are free to linger as little or long as they like while taking in the wonders on all sides.

                                  It also feels far lest “touristy” than similar attractions found in Rotorua, as it's both generally less populated and less commercialised, and efforts have been made to keep the setting feeling as “natural” as possible.

                                  While it can be strenuous at times – the heat of the various steam vents and having to ascend a number of steps can take their toll, particularly on hot days – the effort is well worth it, as the bright oranges of algae , the emerald green of minerals and the vivid colours of the waters make for a unique blend of colours that one simply does not encounter often in nature.

                                  Its Ruatapu Cave is also worth a special mention, one of only two such caves in the world to exist in such a geothermal environment, that stretches over 35m down to a crystal-clear pool at the bottom. Capping it all off are the facilities that help augment the experience nicely; there's a well-equipped cafe from which the boat trip to the thermal park departs, with guests even able to use free Wi-Fi while enjoying their food and drink.

                                  As Taupo's quintessential geothermal experience, Orakei Korako is the best available example of such a landscape in the area without having to travel a far greater distance.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Wairakei Terraces

                                  7. Wairakei Terraces

                                  Location: Wairakei, Taupo, NZ

                                  If you're looking to dial things back a notch during your time in the Taupo region, the steamy enjoyment that Wairakei Terraces offer are one of the best spots in the area to do so as the geothermally-heated waters of its various hot pools go a long way to soothing tired muscles and aching bones.

                                  The attraction is quite visually striking to look at, featuring a series of silica terraces filled with naturally mineral-rich waters that have played a large role in Maori healing techniques for centuries and which face a wonderful outlook surrounded by rich native bush that takes on a whole new life during the winter months.

                                  Snowfall only serves to add an extra layer of charms to the surrounds, as the white tableau contrasts beautifully with the vivid blue of the pools – and there's simply something to be said about relaxing amongst soothing waters while delicate snowflakes fall into your skin.

                                  The pools themselves are beautiful and clean – largely due to a respectable lack of over-commercialisation – with varying temperature levels in each pool that range from warm to almost-too-hot, and graduating from one level to the next is a pleasant process. The terraces, while they look natural, are actually man-made, however the water they flow with is completely organic, and it's quite possible here to spend several hours simply soaking in the minerals and steam and unwinding while taking in the surrounds.

                                  The pools themselves are beautiful and clean, with varying temperature levels in each pool that range from warm to almost-too-hot, and graduating from one level to the next is a pleasant process.

                                  Wairakei Terraces also offers a dose of culture in the form of a traditional Maori performance show which takes place in the evenings that incorporates song, dance and an authentic Hongi greeting that involves the touching of noses between two people. The experience is capped off with a traditionally-prepared Hangi meal and, of course, that most Maori of performances – the Haka.

                                  Options also exist for visitors to take a guided tour “back stage” that showcases different parts of the terraces and surrounding area, which helps provide a historical perspective and put the surroundings into context. There's even the chance to take relaxation to the max and get yourself an indulgent personal massage!

                                  Lastly, one important thing to bear in mind when visiting Wairakei Terraces is that no children are allowed (the minimum age of entry is 14), which can either be a blessing or a curse depending on if you've got kids along for the trip (or perhaps just a blessing if you're able to leave them in someone else's care!). This leads to maintaining a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere, which is what most people are looking for from a facility such as this.

                                  Relaxation is the name of the game at Wairakei Terraces, and its blend of surrounds, soothing waters and escapist atmosphere contribute to it more than living up to this reputation.

                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk

                                  8. Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk

                                  The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 20km hike through an active volcanic crater with lava flows, steam vents and emerald-coloured lakes. Visit at sunrise, sunset or spend the day completing the hike.
                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Skiing at Mt Ruapehu

                                  9. Skiing at Mt Ruapehu

                                  Nearby Mt Ruapehu is skiers and snowboarders heaven. Ride the Gondola, purchase a ski lift pass or take in a ski lesson as you hit the slopes.
                                  The Top 10 Things to do in Taupo, NZ - Taupo Brewery Tour

                                  10. Taupo Brewery Tour

                                  Experience some frothy goodness on a Taupo Brewery tour taking you behind the scenes of working local breweries with craft beer tastings included.