Free things to do in Taupo

On a budget? Check out the wonderful free activities and things to do within the Great Lake Taupo region. As they say, the best things in life are free.

By Joleen Lunjew

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could explore the whole of New Zealand without breaking your budget? New Zealand has plenty of activities that are worth paying for but as they say, the best things in life are free.

Situated right in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Great Lake Taupo is one of the rare destinations that offer plenty of wonderful fun activities for the adrenaline seeking junkies to the safety conscious families. With the sunny days already here, why not head on down to Great Lake Taupo where you and your mates and family can spend the summer holidays without burning a hole in your pockets.

Here are my pick of the top 5 free things to do in Great Lake Taupo region :

1. View the mighty Huka Falls

This thundering waterfall is one of the most visited and photographed attractions in New Zealand, and for good reason. The volume of pure water flowing through the rock face of the mighty Waikato River often approaches 220,000 litres per second; enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools, per second! This huge volume of water forms a spectacular visual feast of powerful falls and rapids over a grand 11m drop.

View the many angles of the mighty Huka Falls from the viewing platforms and wave to the tourists on the Hukafalls Jet boat below. On a sunny day, the water is an amazing crystal clear blue.

2. Soak at the Spa Park Hot Pools

Otumuheke Stream (hot river) winds its way through a series of small natural hot pools, merging with the mighty Waikato River at Spa Park to create a wonderful free swimming hole. It is a great place to relax and soak in the open air. Get changed at the toilets before you walk down to the park as there are no facilities at the water's edge.

There is a walking track beside the stream. The higher you go, the hotter the pools get. Find your ideal spot. Water conditions vary depending on rainfall or the release of water from the dams. Please respect the natural environment around you, keep the place clean and enjoy a soak in the thermal goodness.

3. Walk alongside the Waikato River

From Spa Park, pass the Spa Park Hot Pools and walk along the track that follows the Waikato River and enjoy the fresh air and surrounding bush. The track provides some great views of cliffs, mid-channel islands as well as the exclusive Huka Lodge. Bring your camera!

Continue along the track until you hear the roaring sounds of the mighty Huka Falls. Allow two hours for the return journey or you can choose to arrange transport from the Huka Falls car park.

There are many other walks in the Great Lake Taupo region that you might like. The most popular walk is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

4. Discover the world of honey at Huka Honey Hive

Enjoy free tastings of honey, mead, liqueurs and fruit wines at New Zealand’s largest showcase of honey products. View live beehives and learn about the amazing honey bee. Test a wide range of honey based skincare and wellness products including 100% Pure Active Manuka Honey, Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen. Be tempted by their distinctive range of gifts or relax in their lounge with coffee, gourmet fudge and honey ice-cream. Open daily from 9am - 5pm.

5. Picnic by the Great Lake

Walk or cycle around the lake and take in the stunning views of the lake and mountains beyond.  Pack along a basket and a bottle of wine for some chill time and park yourself at one of the many excellent picnic spots. Read a book, soak in the sun and watch the water activities taking place on the lake while the kids play in the water.

Find out more free activities and things to do in the Great Lake Taupo region.

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