The North Island’s Central Plateau is bubbling with excitement year-round. Hit the road this winter and enjoy these top experiences.
Feel the spirit of the region with a guided Redwoods TreeWalk in Whakarewarewa Forest that takes you over suspension bridges through the towering trees or for more of an adrenaline rush experience the magnificent forests and birdlife with Rotorua Canopy Tours' thrilling ziplining adventures. For biking enthusiasts, there is no better haven than the Redwoods with a track for every ability.
If you visit in winter and you simply can’t stay away from the slopes Mount Ruapehu has you covered no matter what your skiing ability is. For those who stay off the skies more than on them, Happy Valley Snow Park is ideal. Located in Whakapapa (Mount Ruapehu), Happy Valley is a premiere beginners' area providing hours of snow fun.
Taking the grand stand in the stunning Taupo region is a beautiful lake the size of Singapore. There is a seemingly endless list of activities to do on and around the lake. Take in the iconic Mine Bay Maori Rock carvings which can be reached either by kayak or on a more relaxing cruise, take a scenic flight overhead for the optimum bird’s eye view or head out for a stroll along one of the many lakeside walks.
Gain an insight into Maori culture and the myths & legends of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at Te Puia. Home to the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving, enjoy live Maori cultural performances as well as a live kiwi bird sanctuary. There's also Mitai Maori Village where you can view warriors paddling an ancient waka (war canoe), savour a traditionally cooked Hangi (earth oven) meal and enjoy an authentic Maori performance.
The region’s pure waters and lush farmland produces ingredients of export quality, including specialities like nourishing mānuka honey, grass-fed Taupō beef and lamb, wild venison, and locally brewed craft beer. And of course, there’s the trout, which isn’t sold in shops, so the only way to enjoy its unique flavour is to catch it yourself. Many local restaurants and lodges will be happy to prepare your catch for you.
Take the chairlift up New Zealand’s largest volcano, Mount Ruapehu. Hit the Turoa area on the southwest side for Australasia’s biggest vertical drop and expansive, open runs or head to Whakapapa on the northern side for a dramatic volcanic feel. If ski is not your gig, just enjoy coffee and fabulous views from what feels like the top of the world.