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Known as the ‘heart’ of the North Island, Taupo is located just one hour’s drive from Rotorua, 2 hours drive from Hamilton and 3.5 hours drive from Auckland.
While accommodation may already be full in many of the game host cities, Taupo still has availability, but it won’t last for long. Picture yourself relaxing on the balcony of your lakeside hotel room, enjoying your favourite drink as you watch the sun go down over the lake and snowy mountains. As well as hotels, Taupo has plenty of apartments, motels and camping grounds to choose from, and there is also a comprehensive range of private lodges, bed and breakfast accommodation and holiday homes available.
This beautful town is perhaps best known for being on the doorstep of New Zealand’s largest lake – Lake Taupo. Clean, clear and postcard-perfect, the lake creates a stunning backdrop not only to Taupo, but to the snow-capped volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, nestled at its southern end. Winter is a great time to visit Taupo, with geothermal hot pools to soak in (some with hydroslides for those wanting good old-fashioned fun) and New Zealand’s largest ski area just over an hour’s drive away.
Taupo has more of New Zealand’s best attractions than any other region, including the famous Huka Falls, Tongariro National Park, the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings and the world famous trout fishery of Turangi and Taupo. Pair these attractions with world class adrenalin activities, a vibrant night life, amazing boutique shopping and top class cafes, restaurants and bars and you’ve got the ultimate holiday destination.
If you’re stopping over in Taupo between games, you’ll find a huge amount to keep you entertained. Taupo is a holiday hotspot and home to adrenalin activities like skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, bungy jumping, skydiving, mountain biking and whitewater rafting, but it is equally appealing to those who want to enjoy a slower pace during their trip. You’ll find relaxing scenic cruises on Lake Taupo to the famous Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay, sailing trips on a pirate-themed boat, a gentle river cruise up the Waikato River to the base of Huka Falls, and countless walking options both along the lakefront in town and in the bush-clad hills surrounding Taupo.
Just over an hour’s drive from Taupo lies Whakapapa Ski Area, New Zealand’s largest ski resort. The terrain is some of the best in the southern hemisphere for skiing and snowboarding, but you’ll also find New Zealand’s best snow play facility in Happy Valley. With entry to Happy Valley in a purpose-built lift, you will be met by a massive sliding park for tubing and tobogganing that is serviced by magic carpets, taking you up the hill in the shelter of glass tunnels to keep you warm and dry. Happy Valley is also the biggest and best place in New Zealand to learn to ski or snowboard. Make a snowman, have a snowball fight or take a scenic chairlift ride to New Zealand’s highest café to enjoy the views, great coffee and food.
Being the North Island's top holiday destination, Taupo has a high number of bars, restaurants and cafes per capita. This means you have choices galore when it comes to planning a night out. Bars include Irish pubs, pool rooms and a craft beer brewery, and quality restaurants are everywhere. These offer everything from ethnic cuisine to English pub-style food and traditional kiwi fare, including fresh local produce and locally grown meat. Many of the town’s restaurants and bars are lakeside, offering incredible views across the lake to the snowy peaks beyond, and crackling fires to cosy up by with a mulled wine or local ale to warm your cockles.
Taupo’s town centre has some of the best boutique shopping in the country. Unique stores and galleries stock New Zealand and overseas designer clothing brands and accessories, handmade jewellery and crafts, and local art. The Saturday morning market at Riverside Park is well worth a visit for its easygoing vibe, local artisan foods, fresh produce, crafts and live music.
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