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Nature & Wildlife

6 Taupo family friendly outdoors places to visit, nature explored

  • 3 minutes


Where to go and what to see


Let’s get the kids outdoors and meet the wildlife. Taupo offers several options for families with native bush walks through Department of Conservation (DOC) reserves and parks with the possibility of a chance to sight wild horses in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. Enjoy a family friendly trout encounter at the National Trout Centre. There is a sweet surprise for kids at the Huka Honey Hive with an introduction to beekeeping and honey flavoured ice creams. Dog lovers can meet furry, friendly locals the Siberian Husky. Timberline Racing Huskies are sure fire success for kids who are fascinated with all things canine. A highlight is the New Zealand birds of prey, the Morepork. NZ’s hunting owl is elusive in the wild and the volunteers of the morepork’s rehaliliation centre passion for birds gives visitors a chance to hear the story of the owl and their importance to the New Zealand environment.

  1. New Zealand owl, Morepork encounters

The National Bird of Prey Centre is your incredible opportunity to get up-close to New Zealand’s smallest and only owl, the Morepork. Also, check out the flight of the New Zealand falcon every afternoon at 2pm. Plus, other birds of prey species are seen at this rehabilitation centre for New Zealand birds of prey.

Volunteer heroes dedicated to New Zealand raptors and their well-being the centre is an inspiring way to meet New Zealand’s aerial hunters.

  1. National Trout Centre – Shimmering red / orange darting trout

Memorising native bush walks with vividly marked trout accompanying visitors around the centre. Catch and smoke a trout (school holiday programme) creates a day trip from Taupo where the kids are introduced to the art of fishing in a fun and interactive way. There are native blue ducks, whio to view in their creche and an aquarium where eels and other native fish lazily swim. It is a great place for a picnic as the Centre adjoins the well known Tongariro River Trail network.

National Trout Centre, New Zealand @Allgoodthyngs National Trout Centre @Allgoodthyngs
Tongariro National Trout Centre, New Zealand @LoveTaupo Tongariro National Trout Centre @LoveTaupo
  1. Kaimanawa Forest Park

Families that walk and tramp together the wild outdoors, Kaimeanawa Forest Park is where wild horses roam, sika and red deer graze and primeal native beech forest offer visitors an untouched world where nature is in ascendency. The enormous park’s landscape covers towering mountains, forests and tussockland. New Zealand soldiers from nearby Wairoa use the park as a training ground for heliocopter airborne manesvours.

The Urchin Campsite to Piilars of Hercules

A deep gorge with amazing views of a rumbling river tumbling its way through the ancient narrow channel is a highlight. A serious competitor to Huka Falls with the majesty of a river on full display. The swing bridge, the dense native bush and the lack of crowds adds to the mystery. The spectacular ravine is viewed from a 40 m suspension bridge.

  • Length: 1.5km walking track
  • Duration: 30 – 45 minutes
  • Grade: Easy

For family members with limited fitness levels there is a car park 2km further down Kaimanawa Road. The walk starts at Urchin Campsite, off SH1, south of Turangi.

A treat is to view nature’s glory from a helicopter as the Tongariro River suddenly narrows into a surging torrent through the chasm.

Kaimanawa forest wild horses standing amongst tussocks with ears up, Turangi
Kaimanawa forest wild horses standing amongst tussocks with ears up, Turangi
Huka Falls, New Zealand @Wairakei
Huka Falls @Wairakei
  1. Huka Prawn Park

Huka Prawn Park is a prawn hatchery and nursery. Therestaurant prepares freshly harvested prawns and seafood for visitors. Kids will enjoy peering into the prawn farm waters on a guided tour. Kids are invited to hand feed baby prawns. The acqu park has water triks, pedal boats and SUP for visitors to get up and wet.

A change of clothing is recommended. There is a water based obstacle course for kids with water cannons and a wet and slippery trail where kids dart and dodge between jets of water. Hookah Prawn Park is located on the Waikato River adjacent to Huka Falls.

  1. Huka Honey Hive Beekeeping Tour

Pop into a beekeeping suit and meet the busy bees who keep us supplied with the elixir of life, honey. The tour invites visitors to spin the honey separator and fill their jar with honey. An experienced bee keeper ensures visitors safety while chatting about the magical world of bees. For all family members there are free honey, mead and liqueur tastings, live beehive viewings and fascinating interactive displays. At Café Hive@65, the menu is packed with honey flavoured ice creams, hot and cold drinks sweetened with honey and yummy sweet treats. The gift shop stocks a range of honey based products.

@HukaHoneyHive @HukaHoneyHive
@HukaHoneyHive @HukaHoneyHive
  1. Timberline Racing Siberian Huskies

Meet gorgeous Siberian husky dogs and puppies, learn about the breed and watch an 8-dog running team in action. The central plateau with stunning mountains as a backdrop is a premium home for the well padded huskies to train and run. The cold winters offer stimulation and wide open spaces for the huskies to indulge in the joy of running in rhythm with the pack. Visitors get to engage with this intriguing breed and talk to their devoted caregivers and owners what makes the Siberian husky a very special dog breed.


Forward bookings are essential due to the impact of covid19.

Read more about places to visit in Taupo in our Taupo travel guide.

@timberlinehuskies @timberlinehuskies
@timberlinehuskies @timberlinehuskies

Getting to Taupo family friendly outdoors places to visit


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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