A city just a 4-hour drive from Auckland, centred on a crater lake, Taupo. If you live in New Zealand, more specifically if you live in a busy city such as Auckland, this is a nice city to get away to. It offers a few things to do meaning at least an overnight trip is a must. Ideally I’d recommend a 3-night 4-day stay. If you do plan on visiting Rotorua as well, then possibly a 4-night 5-day stay would be preferable. Most likely you’d be driving to Taupo/Rotorua from Auckland, therefore I shall write this blog from that perspective.
Taupo is approximately a 4-hour drive from Auckland. You may decide to have an early morning start, and stop along the way at numerous stops in order to get some rest as well as some food as you make your way down. On your way to Taupo, you will cross the city of Hamilton, which is roughly an hour and a half to two hours drive from Auckland, depending on where you’re driving from. If you don’t plan on coming back to Auckland after your trip to Taupo, I recommend you stop at Hamilton, more specifically at the Hamilton Gardens for a break. The Hamilton Gardens is a vast garden space that showcases flora and fauna of the world creating a mirage of being in that particular location. It has a section on Japanese Gardens, Indian Gardens and much more. Once you’ve left Hamilton Gardens and are headed for Taupo, it should be roughly 2 hours before you reach. Even though Taupo doesn’t necessarily have a lot of activities to do in the span of 3-4 days, the reason I suggest a stay of this duration is so that you can spend ample time by the lake without having to worry about losing out time on doing other things. By the time you arrive in Taupo, it will most likely be late afternoon, early evening. At this point you have two choices. Either you settle in to your room wherever you’re staying, or you check-in and possibly stroll by the lake. On a nice clear day you can even see Mt. Ruapehu across the lake.
The next morning after breakfast, I suggest you head to the Huka Dam to see the Huka Falls. Whilst access to the Huka falls is free, you may wish to do activities such as the jet boat, that will incur a cost and will give you an up close view of the Huka Falls from the Huka River. I cannot comment on whether this expense is worth the value or not as I personally have not done it. Past the Huka Falls there are also a number of walking trails that you may like to do. These vary in duration and fitness level. Again, I personally haven’t done the walks and therefore cannot comment or suggest a specific trail.
An activity that I’d really like to recommend is Craters of the Moon. This is a geothermal walk and is a great experience for the whole family. It’s run by a charitable trust and a small admission fee is charged. It costs $8NZD for an adult. In my opinion this is such a great first-hand experience in experiencing all that you learn in school about volcanic activity. The main track takes 45 minutes to walk and there is an option of a top track, which will take an extra 20 minutes. The main track is an easy track and can easily be completed by people with different levels of fitness.
Another fun activity to do is Prawn fishing at the Huka Prawn Park. It is slightly expensive, as the admission fee costs $28 per person for an adult. However you’re welcome to spend as long as you like here. I believe the prawns you do catch, you can take back to the reception and they will package it for you the way you want it. In addition if I’m not mistaken, you can get the restaurant to cook the prawn the way you like it so you can devour it at the restaurant. I’m not too sure on the latter. I mean how could I be, I didn’t catch a single prawn!
These are most if not all of the family friendly activities that you can participate in. Apart from these, the other options that you have mostly include adventure sports. If you are not afraid of heights, then Taupo is quite a popular location to do a sky dive in (or bungy jump). A lot of tourists like to do white water rafting. Taupo is indeed a small city but just strolling or sitting by the lake for hours just never gets old. Have you been to Taupo? What have you been up to if you did venture there?
Until next time,