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Orakei Korako, New Zealand @ngodfrey89
Orakei Korako, Taupo, New Zealand Attractions, New Zealand @Lonely Planet
Orakei Korako, Taupo, New Zealand Attractions, New Zealand @Lonely Planet

GETTING THERE

Taupo is served by a state highway one road network as well as a domestic airport.

WEATHER

Taupo, Taupō Weather Forecast and Observations

BEST TIME TO GO

Year round, geothermal hot pools ensure you will feel toasty warm. Layer up in winter for brisk, crisp days with a frosty greeting early morning.

What to do and where to go

The scenery is glorious yet a younger audience might gaze unseeingly at the vistas of mountains, lake and river and ask their parents what to do next. Action in Taupo does not mean jet boating (lots of fun) or screaming in delight as you jump off a very large platform (bungee jumping) it can mean memorizing sheer water surging against dam walls or a walk among a lunar landscape. Let’s go for contrast, activities that are specific to Taupo and relax in one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations.

Here are ideas for families, friends and kids for three days finding out what Taupo has to offer visitors, both domestic and international.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Taupo is beautiful, the grandeur of a crater lake, mountains and rivers
  • Geothermal delights unique and specific to the area
  • Tremendous outdoor activities to choose from active adventure tourism to a leisurely walk among native forests
  • Maori hospitality with flair and imagination giving you a look inside a contemporary yet timeless culture
  • Kids activities galore to keep the most active children engaged and entertained
  • Indulgent soaks in warm therapeutic mineral waters with a massage to follow, it’s bliss

DAY 1

One of Taupo’s best known attractions is Huka Falls. The grandeur of a waterfall on the scale of Huka Falls is dramatic. Allow up to an hour at the falls as are entranced by the constant motion of swirling water through the narrow rock faces. Then introduce the kids to the unique places in Taupo from geothermal craters of the moon to the lakeside where family members can take their first selfies against the slogan I love Taupo.

ARRIVAL IN TAUPO

Travelling by road from Auckland even before you get to Taupo town centre take the bypass to Taupo town centre and explore Huka Falls, Geothermal Electricity Plant steaming glory and Craters of the Moon. Travelling South from Wellington let’s get a taste of Taupo within several hours at the National Trout Centre. The signage is just before you reach Tongariro on the opposite side of the road. It is well worth the stop although the sign is not one you would think interests kids. Flying into town you are close to Turangi and the nearby National Trout Centre, turn left exiting the airport and follow the signs south to Wellington.

REST OF DAY ONE

Depending on when you arrive in Taupo it’s time to not worry about where to eat. You are in Taupo where classics, fish n chips, burgers are beautifully prepared at numerous cafes and stalls lining the aerial route through Taupo past the very large Visitor Centre. There are free toilets in the adjoining park or pay as you use toilets further towards the lake.

The lake defines Taupo and its massive, inland freshwater body with its own currents, eddies and waves. The lake fills a volcanic crater which indicates the sheer enormity of the ancient volcanic explosion.

WHAT TO DO ON LAKE TAUPO

  • Check our walks for families
  • Perhaps consider a cruise to Maori Rock carving clearly visible when up close in a boat
  • Kayaking is a summer favourite although wetsuits means year round you can paddle the lake, The lakeside tour operators hire on an hourly basis kayaks and SUP.
  • Picnic in the many spots around the lake with your newly acquired Taupo food goodies

SELFIE MOMENTS FOR KIDS

  • I love Taupo very large sign at the lake shore
  • Watching Huka Falls with surging water in the background
  • Kai Waho foraging finds + foodie feast prepared with your found goodies
  • Kayaking the lake
  • Soaking your toes at ORAKEI KORAKO

EVENING

Why cook, you are in Taupo where visitor hospitality is polished and sophisticated. There is even the option of a dinner cruise on the lake.

DAY TWO

OUT & ABOUT PLACES NEARBY TAUPO

Active holiday activities abound from jet boating, rafting the Tongariro to water sports. While Taupo is the hub for visitors, the lake is extensive with a number of communities and settlements worth exploring with family and friends. The core of the Taupo experience is nature; active adventures are the treats that we don’t want to splurge on.

  • Check out Turangi highlights with its geothermal pool, picturesque wharf, Tongariro River delta and more to explore. For further information Turangi highlights six great ideas to get you going, out and about.
  • Are you travelling with teenagers or older family members interested in a foodie trail day, for details where to go, check here Taupo Foodie Trail Tastes.

ORAKEI KORAKO

Can’t get enough of geothermal marvells, the boiling mud pools, the geyser fountains then either join a River cruise or drive to Orakei Korako and enjoy a day exploring one of Taupo’s lesser known natural thermal attractions. Orakei Korako is home to the most active geysers publicly accessible. There are up to twenty geysers on display. The boiling streams of water coat the slopes with vibrant silica. The area is home to large geothermal caves, native bush with bird song and a picturesque lake with steaming hot vents.

TIP

The lake is dotted with steaming quiet streams where a natural foot massage is just the perfect way to relax.

TIP

Orakei Korako allows dogs to view the geothermal activity

EVENING

After not cooking, banishing food preparation to someone else family and friends can choose to:

  • Kayak at sunset with a guide ensuring your safety and finding magical spots lit by the light of the night sky
  • Night fishing with a guide using your sense of touch and sound to explore the lake
  • Taupo is renown for its entertainment, check the local nightlife for up and coming events

DAY THREE

RELAXATION & MAORI CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

You have moved in relaxation and holiday mode, taking it easy with a day, perhaps revisiting your new favourite things to do in Taupo or meeting the locals for some kai (food) feast. For sports fans there is a special place to visit, the All Blacks haka pregame dance has its origins nearby. Travelling with kids, get someone to supervise for me time indulging in a private massage and spa while the kids shriek with delight at the warm water chutes at DeBretts waterpark.

SPA, HOT POOLS & A CAFE ON SITE

  • DeBretts Thermal Pools

Themed entertainment with warm mineral water as the basis for a great water playground. Taupo deBretts offers the North Island equivalent of Hanmer Springs with water slides, water chutes and pools at varied temperatures. You do not need to be a guest at deBretts to enter the pools. This is a great place year round or even if it is raining as the warm water is a glorious cosy contrast to the cool winter weather.

TIP

Can someone supervise the kids while you indulge in a leisurely massage at the conveniently located spa at DeBretts.

MEET & GREET THE LOCALS

  • MAORI CULTURAL INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES

Maori cultural perspectives from the impressive 15 metre waka (canoe) carved from a single totara log on display at the Taupo Museum to foraging for food in the wild with Kai Waho. For dedicated rugby fans who are enthused by the energy of the pre-game All Black haka (war dance) you can visit a significant Maori pa site (fortified villages) where you can learn about the history of the famous Ka Mate Haka at Opotaka Historic Reserve.

The journey is worth it.

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Three days in Taupo inspiration & tips for families and friends
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Three days in Taupo inspiration & tips for families and friends

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