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Nature & Wildlife

Taupo family friendly outdoors activities

  • 3 minutes

North Island, New Zealand

Where to go and what to see

Meet the wildlife in Taupo – kids friendly things to do

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.

  • A highlight is the New Zealand bird of prey, the Morepork. NZ’s hunting owl is elusive in the wild and the volunteers of the Morepork’s rehabilitation centre passion for birds gives visitors a chance to hear the story of the owl and their importance to the New Zealand environment.
  • 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 surefire success for kids who are fascinated with all things canine.
  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 accompany visitors around the centre. The kids are introduced to the art of fishing in a fun and interactive way (school holiday programme). 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, Turangi, New Zealand
National Trout Centre, Turangi
Kaimanawa wild horses standing amongst tussocks with ears up, New Zealand
Kaimanawa forest wild horses standing amongst tussocks with ears up, Turangi
  1. Kaimanawa Forest Park

Explore the the wild outdoors, Kaimanawa Forest Park. Keep your eyes peeled for roaming and sika and red deer. The Kaimanawa Forest’s primeal native beech forest offers visitors an untouched world where nature is in ascendency. The enormous park is a landscape of towering mountains, forests and tussockland. New Z ealand soldiers from nearby Wairoa use the park as a training ground for heliocopter airborne manesvours.

Uncover a hidden waterfall

The Urchin Campsite to Pillars of Hercules walk rivals Huka falls 

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.

Look and listen to the roar of the Tongariro River as the water flow is forced through a narrow chasm. The viewing bridge is a great place for views of Mount Urchin.

Huka Falls Taupo, New Zealand
Huka Falls Taupo, New Zealand

Look at the shallow eddies in the Tongariro River to see if you can spot the rare endangered blue Whio (native blue duck).

  • 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.

Tongariro River walks, New Zealand
Tongariro River, New Zealand

A special New Zealand place well off the beaten track

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

Kids tell your parents about Tongariro River Rafting for kids. This is the perfect family activity – you, the kids, and an awesome guide in one raft, on a Grade 2 rafting adventure on the Tongariro River – this is our ‘Family Float’ rafting adventure.

  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.

Huka Falls waterfall in Wairakei near Lake Taupo in New Zealand
Huka Falls waterfall in Wairakei near Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Check out Aratiatia Rapids nearby Huka Prawn Park, the kids will enjoy the stunning spectacle of a rapidly rising river + the strident alarms sounding.

  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.

  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.


Getting to Taupo family friendly outdoors places to visit

Maori Rock carvings, Taupo, New Zealand
Maori Rock carvings, Taupo, New Zealand

For more ideas what to do in Taupo with the kids check out Taupo Travel Guide, Maori Rock Carvings cruise and budget wise, Taupo things to do for free – Best Bits has tips where to go for free in Taupo.

Families interested in conservation and wildlife New Zealand has many opportunities, from Wildlife, conservation, responsible holidays in Northland, New Zealand – Best Bits to the capital city, Wellington surprises, Wellington wildlife, 5 must-visit places, what to do & see. A favourite road trip in the South Island, Southern Scenic Road Trip: Wildlife Safari Road Trip, The Catlins – Best Bits is an opportunity to view massive sea lions and the majestic Albatross of the Otago Peninsula.

From the top of New Zealand to the bottom the overseas visitor and locals alike get outdoors, follow the webbed feet and discover wild New Zealand.


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