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How to Spend 3 Days in Taupo

How to Spend 3 Days in Taupo

The town of Taupo is a convenient base for exploring central North Island. On a three day trip, you can get to know the town and also explore a bit further afield and enjoy an exciting adventure sport, visit a geothermal park, and hike through unbelievable landscapes. Here are a few things to do in and around Taupo on a 3-day visit.

Day 1: Adrenaline-Filled Adventures

With snow-capped mountains, an enormous lake, and several rivers nearby, Taupo is a hub for all kinds of outdoor adventures. Whatever kind of thrill you’re into, it’s probably possible here. 

On your first day, you can dive into a variety of adventures: Rent a kayak for a gentle paddle on Lake Taupo or ride around it on a bike; bounce along rapids on a white-water rafting trip; zoom up a river on a jet boat; jump out of an airplane on a tandem skydive; or go on a sightseeing helicopter tour. You’ll get your blood flowing and also see some beautiful landscapes along the way. In the evening, unwind with a sunset cruise on the lake; some include dinner and drinks. Alternatively, save your appetite for a burger and a few beers at one of Taupo’s traveler-centric downtown bars.

Day 2: Geothermal Wonders

Much of New Zealand is volcanically active, and Taupo is surrounded by a variety of geothermal sites. Visit the area’s bubbling mud pools, steaming natural vents, and springs of simmering water that is so hot you could boil an egg in it (and then some). There are several parks just outside the city where you see the thermal sites from boardwalks, learn about the science behind them, and discover how local Maori people have harnessed their natural heat and power for centuries. Opt for Orakei Korako Geothermal Park, and you can also take a short boat ride to colorful, steaming thermal terraces. 

After sightseeing, experience a different side of this natural phenomenon back in town. Head to the Spa Thermal Park or DeBretts Spa Resort, and spend the late afternoon or early evening enjoying a relaxing soak in a bath fed with geothermally-heated water.  

Day 3: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Active travelers won’t want to miss the chance to hike the nearby Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is often called one of the best day hikes in the world. Opt for a guided tour that drives you from Taupo to the trailhead (a roughly 90-minute trip) and then picks you up at the other end of the trail. The hike itself is about 12 miles (19.4 km) long, crosses a volcanic plateau, and rewards trekkers with a moon-like landscape, bright turquoise sulfurous lakes, forests, and sweeping views of several mountains. It’s a moderately challenging trek with steep sections, and weather conditions can change rapidly, so make sure you’re properly prepared.

Alternatively, opt for a gentler, family-friendly walk along the Great Lake Walkway on the shores of Lake Taupo. The trip offers great views of the volcanic peaks and is another spectacular way to end your adventures in Taupo.

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11 Tours and Activities | All Taupo Tours

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Maori Rock Carvings Eco Sailing Taupo

Maori Rock Carvings Eco Sailing Taupo

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Relax aboard a sailing yacht on Great Lake Taupo during this sightseeing cruise to Maori rock carvings. Accessible solely by water, this impressive rock art on the cliffs of Mine Bay was created by a master carver in 1976. You’ll come up close to the 22-foot-high (10-meter) gallery and enjoy postcard views from the deck. Relax with a complimentary glass of wine or beer if you sail in the evening.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
USD33.25
From
USD33.25
Taking safety measures

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride from Taupo

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride from Taupo

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Spin and speed your way to Huka Falls during a thrilling jetboat ride on the Waikato River. Hold on tight as you zip over the crystal-clear waters past rugged cliffs and native bush on New Zealand's longest river. Feel the power of the thundering waterfall up close as it blasts into the turbulent pool. Round-trip transport is included from hotels in Taupo.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
USD73.96
From
USD73.96
Taking safety measures

The Maori Carvings Half Day Kayak

The Maori Carvings Half Day Kayak

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Take in the scenery of Lake Taupo during this half-day kayaking tour from Taupo. After a brief paddling lesson, set out in your kayak from Jerusalem Bay. Follow your guide along the shoreline of New Zealand’s largest lake to rock cliffs where you can see Maori carvings. Stop at a scenic spot for snacks and an optional swim on a tour that is suitable for all levels of experience.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD78.03
From
USD78.03

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

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Trek across stark volcanic terrain on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This independent day hike takes you past Mt Tongariro with an optional side trip to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe, located within the World Heritage area of Tongariro National Park. You’re provided with a round-trip transfer, map and information sheet to prepare you for the 6- to 10-hour trek. Early morning shuttle service is available from your accommodation in Taupo or Turangi, or from the Base Camp or Ketetahi parking lots.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD21.37
USD23.75
USD2.38 savings
From
USD21.37
USD23.75
USD2.38 savings

Waikato River Jet Boat Ride

Waikato River Jet Boat Ride

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Zoom over the waters of the Waikato River on a jet boat during this 35-minute excursion. With a guide in the lead to providing commentary on the local sights, surf the Nga Awapurua Rapids, shoot through canyons, and admire the purity of the clear waters. This small-group tour can accommodate 11 people per boat.
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
USD89.78
From
USD89.78
Taking safety measures

Taupo Adventure Combo: Jet Boat Ride and Whitewater Rafting

Taupo Adventure Combo: Jet Boat Ride and Whitewater Rafting

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Enjoy a thrilling combo of 2 of Taupo's best water activities. You’ll have the time of your life with each adrenaline-charged experience: Spin out to Huka Falls on a Waikato River jet-boat ride and go whitewater rafting on the Tongariro River. With professional guides and all equipment provided, you’ll see all angles of Taupo’s great outdoors.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
USD159.46
From
USD159.46
Taking safety measures

Lake Taupo 15,000-Foot Tandem Skydiving

Lake Taupo 15,000-Foot Tandem Skydiving

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Fall to Earth from 15,000 feet (4,570 meters) on this tandem skydiving adventure at Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s original drop zone. Get picked up in a stretch Hummer, and prepare for your flight with an orientation and professional gear. After cruising to altitude, summon your courage and jump from the plane with a tandem master over the shores of Lake Taupo. During 60 unforgettable seconds of freefall, catch views of both coasts and the snowy peaks of Tongariro National Park before gliding back to solid ground via parachute.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD249.85
From
USD249.85

Self-Guided Geothermal Tour in Orakei Korako

Self-Guided Geothermal Tour in Orakei Korako

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Experience the thrill of New Zealand’s volcanic landscapes on a self-guided tour of the Orakei Korako geothermal area. Follow the 1.5-mile (2.5km) boardwalk around the park and stop to admire startling silica terraces, peer into bubbling mud pools and watch hissing geysers. Be sure not to miss the Ruatapu Cave, one of only two geothermal caves in the world and home to a mesmerizing thermal mirror pool.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD27.14
From
USD27.14

Stand Up Paddle Board Hire - Lake Taupo

Stand Up Paddle Board Hire - Lake Taupo

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Enjoy Lake Taupo in an active yet relaxing way with a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rental. You can set off across the water at your own pace, paddling along the shore or checking out sights such as the Maori Rock Carvings.
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  • 4 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD33.25
From
USD33.25

Great Lake Taupo Mountain Bike and Kayak Package

Great Lake Taupo Mountain Bike and Kayak Package

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Explore the northeastern end of Lake Taupo by both land and water with a combo bike and kayak tour from Taupo. You'll start by biking from Acacia Bay to Kinloch along the W2K section of the Great Lake Trail on a 2- to 2.5-hour ride. Then enjoy lunch before hopping in a kayak to paddle from Whakaipo Bay to the Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD264.46
From
USD264.46

Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

Explore Taupo at your own pace with a self-guided audio tour. Using your smartphone or mp3 player, you'll follow a downloaded map to see the sights of the city and Lake Taupo shoreline. As you go, learn about the area's geothermal history and activity.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
USD15.29
From
USD15.29
Taking safety measures


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