WHERE TO GO FOR A SNACK OR NEW ZEALAND CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Flag Taupo as a foodie hotspot. Taupo, a seasoned hospitality host is awash with choice from prawn fishing creating a unique farm to plate moment or al fresco picnic in a remote location. Sweeten the moment with a honey tour moving onto a funky brewery where the welcome carpet is literally rolled out on the main street. Trout is a subtle delicacy not available commercially. Work for your supper, catch the fish and your personal chef will prepare a meal where the ingredients epitomise fresh.
Cafes will turn your selection into an impromptu picnic hamper. Cafe culture is alive, fast and furious, they understand customers do not want to wait. The coffee cart at the lakeside beach has views to relish together with a great flat white coffee.
Restaurant meets the international standards yet retains a small town vibe. Variety and choice of cuisines reflects the cosmopolitan mix of visitors. Your menu choice is capped with outstanding lake views. You could not ask for a better experience.
Vibrant, fun and a contemporary twist on food options. Here are several options
Cafe Baku is an ideal meeting place with outstanding coffee and super fresh salads. Remember to check the bakery, it is very tempting. For tea drinkers there is a tremendous variety of teas.
Doughnuts are gooey, baked with flavour and delicious toppings. Baked With Love is the perfect place where temptation is part of the service. Imaginative homeware juxtapositioned with sliders and waffles makes an intriguing space for a leisurely brunch, then check out Storehouse Taupo while in town. The premises are hidden, literally in an industrial part of Taupo making it fun just locating this gem.
Victoria’s Cafe Kitchen Bar is well known for its consistent attention to quality and excellent coffee. The kid friendly ambiance makes the place a family favourite for locals. The fluffies are beautifully presented for small people. As Victoria’s cafe states,’We do not need inspiration, we all need a good coffee.’ Hankering after your favourite buttery light French pastry or crisp baguette then do not look past Industrie French Kitchen.
Further afield in Turangi are the best pies in Taupo region
Turangi Bakery & Cafe is the classic New Zealand lunch bar and cafe where scallops, mussels and seafood delights are wrapped in a light pastry crust. For lovers of the classic beef mince and cheese pie it’s another winning combination.
Turangi offers a unique twist on one stop shop for fishing fans with Creel Tackle House and Cafe – Home. Get your fishing licence, tackle, bait and scrumptious bites for the road.
For arty flair Lava Glass Café is a must go venue. An extensive well thought out menu, sofa armchairs to relax in and a glassblowing gallery stocked with gorgeous glass objects. Packing and sending sought after items to your home address is not a problem. Let the professionals at Lava Glass arrange delivery. You will likely meet the artists who are at work in the studio.
Boaties don’t miss out with
2 Mile Bay Pizzas boat access to a floating jetty and patrons can order a flat while coffee on the go. The pizza oven is hot and ready to go with crisp bases and home made sauces creating memorable pizzas. Look for the billowing tent sails over the licenced restaurant at Two Mile Sailing Centre and watch the lake activity as you munch on your pizza.
MARKETS – Specialty foods
Many of the local cafes and commercial bakeries have regular stalls at the Taupo Farmers and Craft market. The number one stop on Sunday at the Northcote Reserve for locals after handcrafted breads, deli goods, lemon curd doughnuts from Baked with Love Cafe, local Volcanic Coffee and a wide variety of smallgoods and speciality fresh produce such as locally grown saffron and truffles.
For vintner buffs check out The Merchant of Taupo for the biggest retail selection. Local favourites include Rive Gauche Pinot Gris and Karapiti Pinot Noir. You will receive tips and advice on the up and coming success stories and where to go for snacks and wine sampling.
TAUPO FOOD TOURS
- Catch your own trout for dinner on Lake Taupo. Trout is not allowed to be commercially farmed meaning it is not on any restaurant menu. This prohibition is aimed at protecting the sustainability of the recreational trout fishery. Let’s get your trout flavour burst going with the basics. You catch the trout and get a chef / guide to assist with food preparation. Catch, prepare and serve is the order of the day. A guide is the ideal way to achieve the goal of tasting trout and the delicate, fresh flakes of freshwater fish. Your fish is wild and a professional guide, Dream Trout » Guided Fly fishing Taupo New Zealand will organise all the pesky details.
- Huka Prawn Park is family entertainment where guests are invited to catch their prawns. Your tour will include the prawn farm where you learn about prawn harvesting, then it’s onto the fun stuff. The Riverside Restaurant is where the fruits of your labours are served up. For those family members who do not want to eat prawns there is an extensive menu to choose from. Huka Prawn Park – New Zealand’s only Prawn Park is 10 minutes north of Taupo is a mini water theme park keeping kids amused. At times prawn fishing is sometimes not part of the activities due to seasonality or prawn supply issues.
- Huka Honey Hive is a stockist of major New Zealand honey brands. Taste honey and take a honey tour at the Huka Honey Hive. The shop offers samples of free honey, mead and liqueur tastings, live beehive viewings and fascinating interactive displays. At Café Hive@65, enjoy delicious gourmet ice creams, hot and cold drinks and a great range of sweet treats.
- Take a brewery tour at the Crafty Trout Brewery. This is where quirky fun meets serious good craft brewing right on the main street of Taupo. The brewery markets craft beers, ciders and seasonal specialities created on site.
- A touch of luxury, a personalised fishing experience can’t look past Guided Back Country Heli-Fly Fishing. Helisika Helicopters are the Central North Island Industry leaders in wilderness fly fishing experiences. Based in the foothills of the Kaimanawa Ranges since 1987 you will enjoy a tailored experience.
- Maori immersive forage and feast encounter
A day where we meet the original inhabitants of the area. Kai Waho is the total Kiwi experience, authentic in its Maori cultural roots, hand stitched for individuals. It’s meaningful travel that offers a much deeper experience than a simple walk in the bush, a day in the outdoors, a fish or a hunt. Guests are invited to discover pre-European cooking methods. Guests are active participants in foraging for food and every guest has a set task towards the preparation of a Maori feast. The location is Tamau Pa, 700 metres above sea level on the rim of the Taupo basin, is a base for Kai Waho (outdoor cuisine) accessible only by air, or an exhilarating four-wheel-drive off-road trek. Here is Tuwharetoa tribal land, stunning subalpine forest, remote, rich in culture, abundant in food and exclusively yours to explore with the careful guidance of the Kai Waho team, led by Tom Loughlin – host, chef, gatherer, and caretaker, kaitaiki, for this special part of New Zealand. Kai Waho | Maori Cuisine, Cultural & Wilderness Experience definitely unique, specific to the place Tom and his team call hearth and home.
Inhouse dining places where food meets the spectacular lake views. Waterside Restaurant ticks these boxes and more. Superb food and good service with the backdrop of Lake Taupo creates a special moment.
This restaurant is a new addition to Taupo’s dining scene and has already gained a strong following with a lot of plaudits. It is ranked the number one restaurant in Taupo on TripAdvisor and it’s easy to see why. It provides the perfect place to enjoy a delicious dinner with its amazing menu and exquisite overall European dining experience.
The Bistro focuses heavily on bringing the flavour and freshness of the menu to life in every meal. The crackled pork belly, confit of Cambridge duck or braised Rangitikei lamb shank are only some of the delectable options available. The chef and owner of the restaurant, Jude Messenger has also won the winner of 2011 Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, highlighting just how good the food really is.