I’ve called Taupo my home for the past 3 months in New Zealand and it’s almost time to say goodbye. I got ‘Taupo Trapped’ just as many others did. I made friends, memories, laughed a lot and cried a little. I’ve had a blast but now it’s time to see some more of this beautiful country. Before I leave I wanted to share a little bit of my own Taupo journey and why its the perfect place to spend 3 months in New Zealand. I’m sure I’ll be back at some point but the South Island mountains and lakes are calling me now.
Here’s a few of my favourite things to do in Taupo:
1) Huka Falls
One of the most popular free attractions in Taupo is the Huka Falls. It truly is a beautiful waterfall and something you shouldn’t miss if your in Taupo. You can reach the Huka Falls by walking through Spa Thermal Park. I’ve visited a few times but my favourite by far was when we timed our walk to arrive in time for sunset and we were treated with these stunning pink skies.
2) Lake Taupo
I spent a lot of my free time in the summer by the lake. I would grab my book and spend a good few hours in the afternoons hanging out by the lake. Time spent by the lake was never time wasted. The view of the mountains in the distance across from the lake is mesmerising. That view alone was the reason I chose to stay in Taupo long-term and make it my home for a while. Taupo itself is not very big but Lake Taupo is said to be the same size as Singapore.
3) Free Hot Pools
The free hot pools are located within the Spa Thermal Park which you will walk through if going to the Huka Falls. It’s a hot stream of water that flows right into the Waikato River. The temperature can vary depending on where you are as it mixes with the cold water of the river. It’s a super relaxing way to spend your day and the scenery that surrounds you is beautiful.
4) Watch the sunset
Okay, so watching the sunset is one of my favourite things to do no matter where in the world I am. But, I have witnessed some of the most spectacular sunsets since being in Taupo. My favourite place to watch the sunset is down by the lake for sure. The combination of the mountains and the sky changing into an array of colours is so pretty it will make you want to cry.
5) River Float
The perfect way to spend a summer’s day in Taupo. Grab a float, a few friends and beers if you choose and float down the Waikato River. I arrived in Taupo towards the end of summer and managed to get a few river floats in before the weather cooled down too much. There’s a few places to stop on the way if you choose. There’s a tree with a rope swing attached, a little bit of beach opposite Taupo Bungy and finally finish your river float at the hot pools.
6) Bungy Jump
I did my first ever bungy jump here so of course it had to be included in this list of the best things to do in Taupo. I reckon its probably the most scenic place to do a bungy jump on the North Island though. This was the moment of no return for me. I was immensely scared at the time but so glad that I did it now.
7) Climb Mt Tauhara
Every day I wake up to wonderful views of Mt Tauhara and I finally got round to climbing it and the views at the top were breathtaking. It takes approximately 1 hour to reach the summit. The first part of the track is fairly steep and it can get slippy underfoot once you begin walking through the bush. When this is the reward you get at the top though you know it was all worth it.
8) Sail to the Maori Rock Carvings
I did this in the summer with ‘Sail Fearless’ and had such a good time. We sailed to the carvings, ate a lot of pizza, drank a few beers and jumped in the lake again and again. I booked on this little excursion by myself and sometimes get nervous when I turn up and everyone else is in groups. But I actually had the perfect afternoon. Sometimes I can get anxieties about doing little things on my own like this and whether I’ll enjoy it the same. Everyone on the boat was really friendly, my anxieties disappeared fast and I had a great time. Sailing around the lake in the middle of summer was the best idea. Highly recommend!
Taupo is also a great place to stay before you hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The shuttle bus picks up and drops off in Taupo. For more information about this hike follow the link below: