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When thinking of time spent by the lake, most people picture warm air and bright skies. However, when considering your plans in New Zealand this winter, you would be selling yourself short to pass over the great Lake Taupo as an off-season pursuit. In reality, winter is an exceptional time to visit Taupo. This cosy winter refuge offers up a sampling of New Zealand’s best, with the picturesque shores of Lake Taupo as your setting and the majestic central plateau mountain range as your backdrop.
Don’t let the chill in the air or clouds in the sky stop you from exploring the sweet little town of Taupo. There’s plenty of indoor fun for all ages and interests. Taupo town centre is a haven for boutique shopping, free parking, pedestrian-friendly streets and no cluttered malls. A bit further afield, the Huka Honey Hive is the mecca of all things bee related, including a live bee hive and tastings of honey, liqueurs, mead and fruit wines at New Zealand’s biggest showcase of honey products – entry is free! Also visit The Volcanic Activity Centre, great rainy day activity for both kids and adults, with audio visuals and interactive displays about the Taupo volcanic zone.
For those with an adventurous spirit, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Winter weather brings out the skiers and the Whakapapa ski field offers runs for all levels. Just over an hour’s drive from Taupo, stop off for hearty breakfast, afternoon tea or a holiday happy hour at Lorenzs’ Bar and Cafe. A bit closer to base, you’ll find a plethora of mountain bike and hiking trails suitable for year-round use. Another outdoor option is to explore Taupo’s famous fly-fishing, with spawning runs peaking in late winter.
In the evening, warm up with a soak in DeBrett’s hot spring pools. Follow up your dip with some pre-dinner drinks and entrées at The Lake House Taupo or Rose on Roberts. If you’re ready to pull out the stops, head over to the Huka Lodge for a true luxury dining experience featuring seasonal themed foodie events. If you prefer to dine closer in town, The Bantry also offers a gourmet take on contemporary New Zealand cuisine, after which you can bundle up for an evening stroll along Taupo’s Lion’s Walk, which traverses the lakefront. Within walking distance is The Cove, luxury accommodation set on the shores of stunning Lake Taupo, where you can nestle in a relax the winter away.