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Day trip from Auckland to Taupo

Taupo on a budget

New Zealand is famous for its picturesque scenery and views, and renting a car with VroomVroomVroom is the best way to enjoy all that the North Island has to offer. The Taupō region is just a short drive from a number of amazing city centres, where the region itself is home to a plethora of free activities.

Top things to do in Taupō

The beautiful Huka Falls.
The beautiful Huka Falls.

1. Take the Great Lake Taupō drive: To get the most out of your rental car, pack a picnic basket and do the Great Lake Taupō drive. With a total driving distance of 160 kilometres around the entire lake — and with amazing views — it really is a journey worth taking.

2. Visit Huka Honey Hive: Situated just five minutes north of Taupo at Wairakei Tourist Park, the Honey Hive can be found right next to Huka Falls, a great destination for the whole family. Whether it’s viewing the beehives, tasting the honey. or finding the right honey skincare and wellness products, you’ll be sure to enjoy this free-to-enter attraction. Honey is famous for its natural healing qualities, so make sure a visit to Huka Honey Hive is on your itinerary.

3. See the Aratiatia Rapids: Don’t miss out on the Aratiatia Rapids located on Aratiatia Road, ten kilometres north of Taupō. Witness the gorge of surging rapids when the Waikato River falls 28 metres in the space of a kilometre. This is a spectacular and powerful sight to behold.

4. Hike to the summit of Mt. Tauhara: Only a ten-minute drive via Thermal Explorer Highway and State Highway 5, find out why the trail to the top of Mt Tauhara is a favourite hike among locals and visitors. To reach the top, this medium 2.8km trail takes an hour and 15 minutes to walk, providing scenic views over Lake Taupō and the central North Island.

5. Explore Tongariro National Park: Located just south of Lake Taupō, explore several walking trails within the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park, and experience the magnificent volcanic alpine landscape. Popular activities in the park include skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Aside from hiking, visitors can also enjoy fishing, hunting, and mountain biking in the summer.

Tongarito National Park is one of the more unusual of New Zealand’s landscapes.
Tongarito National Park is one of the more unusual of New Zealand’s landscapes.

6. Bike the Great Lake Walkway: Also known as the Lion’s Walk, the Great Lake Walkway is a ten-kilometre trail that stretches along the shores of Lake Taupō, ending at Five Mile Bay.

7. Enjoy the free hot pool at Spa Thermal Park: This spa park lets its guests and visitors take a dip in the free swimming hot pool. A perfect place to relax, soak in the open air, and enjoy the hot springs, the Spa Thermal Park should not be missed.

8. Mingle with the locals: If you’d love to do something uniquely local, be sure to head down to the Riverside Market, held every Saturday from 10am until 1pm. Here, you’ll discover a great mix of stalls selling local produce, handmade arts and crafts, and more.

9. Have a fun 6D cinematic adventure: Take a virtual ride and experience all of Taupō’s natural wonders and thrilling activities, such as skydiving, whitewater rafting, and jet boating, all from the comfort of your cinema chair at the 6D Adventure Cinema.

10. Get a selfie at #LOVETAUPO: Let the selfies begin! Visitors flock to see the #LoveTaupo lettering, which can be found on Lake Terrace. This has become an iconic must-see photo spot for travellers, in part because of its beautiful backdrop courtesy of Lake Taupō and the nearby snow-capped mountains.

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