48 hours in Great Lake Taupo
Taupo is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes – it’s the epitome of what you’d expect to see when you think of New Zealand. Natural hot springs, gourmet restaurants, local friendliness and an abundance of activities make it one of my favourite places for a quick getaway.
Located just three-and-a-half hours from Auckland or five hours from Wellington, Taupo is a favourite long weekender spot with North Islanders – here’s how to have an adventure-packed 48 hours in Taupo. And be sure to check out my Video Guide here.
Culture while you cruise: the Maori Rock Carvings
Lake Taupo is so large that you could fit Singapore into the size of it, so naturally there’s many types of water activities to choose from, but this activity is extra special. The Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay are only accessible by water, and a boat cruise is the best way to get there. Hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary artworks, they tower 14 metres above the deep water of Lake Taupo and are impressive to say the least. The carvings were created in the late ’70s by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Jonathan Randell as a gift to Taupo. Brightwell led a team of four artists to create this spectacular carving of his ancestor Ngatoroirangi on the rock face, spending four summers completing the work.
Soak and sightsee: Otumuheke Stream Spa Park
A Taupo must do, this Thermal Spa Park is a free natural hot spring and the perfect way to relax after a long day of activities. Tauhara, Taupo 3378, New Zealand
Fast and furious: Huka Falls Jet Boat
The Huka Falls Jet Boat is a 30-minute ride up the Waikato River, right to the edge of Huka Falls. The boat does 360-degree spins down the river and is an exhilarating way to see the sights.
‘Huka’ means foam in Maori and as the name suggests, these 11-metre high waterfalls sure get foamy. They’re also the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand. After your jet boat ride, drive up to the viewing platform and witness the sheer speed and volume of the falls. Every second up to 220,000 litres of water gushes through the gorge and shoots out more than eight metres to create a beautiful turquoise colour.
When in Rome: Bungy
If you love a bit of adrenalin you can’t visit Taupo without visiting the guys over at Taupo Bungy. The turquoise lake below the jump is spectacular, making for great views on the way down!
Hit the jackpot: Taupo Hole in One
If you’re feeling lucky or you’re a talented golfer, you’ve got to give the Taupo Hole In One a go. Right on the lake’s edge is a putting green where you can try your luck to hit a hole in one – and win $10,000 cash. There’s a slight catch. The golf hole is located 102 metres away on a platform in the lake. No matter your handicap, it’s really fun to have a go and see how close you can get to the platform. 61 Lake Terrace, Lake Taupo
Breakfast of champions: The Storehouse
This warehouse-style café in a beautiful open space serves delicious coffee and food. Try The Storehouse’s Kumara Rosti with poached egg, avocado and basil pesto mayonnaise, or some of their infamous waffles. 14 Runanga St, Taupo
Hearty and healthy: Replete Café
If you’re keen to try a few Kiwi favourites, Replete Café serves up a great selection of hearty food like chicken pot pie, cacao waffles, bacon and egg pie as well as healthy options like kale and bean salads with lots of gluten free and vegan options. 45 Heuheu St, Taupo
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