Enjoying a weekend in Taupo

The crashing falls, steaming craters and glistening lake are just some of the magnificent sights in Taupo.

The crashing falls, steaming craters and glistening lake are just some of the magnificent sights in Taupo. Conveniently located in the centre of the North Island, the lake dominated town has a multitude of weekend activities for the adventurers and for those who just want to relax.

The borough sits in a picturesque landscape of mountains and of course the lake, which actually lies in a caldera produced by a super volcanic eruption 26,500 years ago. As the perfect weekend getaway destination, this tourism hot spot offers scenic views, relaxing geothermic pools and plenty of water-based activities. With plenty of holiday park options for accommodation, there are no worries about a place to stay.

Craters of the Moon
This popular geothermic wonderland features geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming craters – all with a distinct sulphuric smell. Born in the 1950s, Craters of the Moon boasts wooden walkways to ensure guests have adequate protection from the heat of the soil. Due to the unpredictable nature of the area, these paths often need to be moved as new vents develop. There are several viewing platforms near the edge of the larger craters and visitors can breathe in the steam and check out the rainbow of colours emerging from the ground.

Lake Taupo
Swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing and other water sports are the major draw of this enormous lake. Flanked by mountains, the lake is ideal for water-skiing and sailing, or just relaxing on one of its many beaches. If you are keen for some visual history, jump in a boat or kayak and head to Mine Bay to see the Maori rock carvings. The main carving is 10 meters tall and all of the rock-face carvings can only be seen by boat from the water.

If you are keen to get a bit of exercise and see the lake by foot, there are plenty of hiking and mountain bike trails throughout the surrounding forests. For a day trip, pack a picnic and stop at one of the many vistas and lunch spots along the way.

Huka Falls
New Zealand's most visited attraction, the loud and tumbling Huka Falls, crash down 11 meters of volcanic rock just north of Taupo. Every second, more than 220,000 litres of water roars over the cliff face, and in back into the Waikato River. A foot bridge at the top of the falls puts viewers in a prime position to get the full effect of the blasting water. If you want to get right up close and witness the display at the base of the furious falls, you can try a jet boat ride which takes you as close as you would want to be. Another option is hiking the Spa Park to the falls trail.

The laid-back hour long walk starts at the placid end of the river and meanders alongside it through native forest, ending with the roar of the falls. There are several vistas and opportunities for photos of the falls during the hike.

Spa Park Hot Pools
The Otumuheke Stream curls around a chain of petite natural hot pools, culminating with the Waikato River at Spa Park to generate a glorious swimming hole. The hot pools are the perfect place to soak your muscles without having to pay for the privilege of a natural thermal spa. The hiking track beside the stream provides a thermometer of heat – the further up you go the hotter the pools become. Take your time to discover the perfect spot and enjoy it, taking care to leave it pristine when you go.

Adventure Opportunities
Whether it’s bungy jumping, sky-diving or white water rafting you’re after – you’ll find it all in Taupo.
Dare devils can peer over a high cliff overlooking the Waikato River and then jump off the platform with only a large, rubber bungee cord for safety, or maybe leap out of a plane thousands of feet off the ground with just a parachute for peace of mind.

The sheer wealth of adrenaline-raising activities is awesome. Mountain biking, white-water rafting on the Tongariro River and jet boating are ripe for picking, as well as nearby Mount Ruapehu for snow-boarding and skiing during the winter months. Summer is definitely the time for water sports and a popular past time is strapping water skis or a donut to the back of your boat and taking your mates for a wild ride.

A weekend trip in Taupo will get your heart pumping and then your muscles relaxing, making it the perfect place to enjoy nature, either by foot, bike or boat. After a long, busy day, come home to relax at one of our two Taupo Holiday Parks - Great Lake Holiday Park, or Taupo All Seasons Kiwi Holiday Park.

Photo credits:
Lake Taupo by Heike Quosdorf, CC-BY-2.0
Huka Falls by Andrew and Annemarie, CC-BY-2.0
3, 2, 1, bungy! By Madeleine Holland, CC-BY-2.0

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