Taupo Sights & Activities

Fly & boat fishing

Golf (2 international courses)

Thermal parks & spas

Tongariro National Park


Scenic cruises & flights

Whitewater rafting


Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Quad biking

Skydiving & bungy jumping

Cafes & Restaurants

Art galleries

Boutique shopping

Wineries & wine tastings

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Waitomo Caves, Tongariro National Park, Rotorua Thermal and Cultural attractions, all easy day trips from Taupo luxury lodge

Taupo is in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand, 3 hour's drive from Auckland International Airport. The town sits on the rim of New Zealand's largest lake - a lake which reminds many of our American guests of Lake Tahoe, without the commercialization. Taupo is 1 hour by car from Rotorua, 1 1/4 hours fromTongariro National Park - a world heritage park with three spectacular volcanoes - and 1 3/4 hours from Waitomo Caves, famous for their glowworms and blackwater rafting. Slightly further afield, but still an easy day trip, is Napier and the Hawke's Bay wine district, which is 2 hours away.

This central location makes Taupo an ideal base from which to explore the most diverse range of tourist activities in the North Island. Guests who have stayed 5 days or longer with us at our luxury Taupo lodge, Tauhara Sunrise, have typically filled their days along the following lines:

  • Day 1: Explore the attractions of Taupo. Huka Falls, Aratiatia Rapids, the Volcanic Activity Centre, a cruise on the lake to see the Maori Rock Carvings, or on the Waikato River to see Huka Falls, fishing, either on the lake or on one of our many beautiful rivers, lunch at the Wishart Winery, the Prawn Park, Cafe L'Arte or one of the many cafes and restaurants in town, perhaps a round of golf on Wairakei International or on the Jack Nicklaus signature course, both within 15 minutes of Tauhara Sunrise
  • Day 2: A trip to Rotorua. En route, stopping at one of three amazing thermal parks - Orakei Korako (The Hidden Valley), Waiotapu, or Waimangu. In Rotorua itself, a visit to Te Puia to see the geysers and mud pools, the Agrodome to see a slice of New Zealand rural life including the amazing sheep dogs at work, Rainbow Springs to see our native and rare Kiwi bird, our native giant Tuatara lizard, as well as huge trout. Other great attractions in Rotorua include the Polynesian Spa, Maori cultural shows and feasts, the luge (take a gondola ride up a mountain, hop in a little cart and race each other down a winding concrete track) and the zorb (the big silicon ball where you get inside and roll down a hill - not for me but many seem to enjoy it).
  • Day 3: A trip to Tongariro National Park. The drive down to the park is spectacular and once there, there are many walks and hikes to choose from. In the winter (July - October) skiiing is available on Mount Ruapehu and over the summer the most popular activity would be the Tongariro Crossing - a 7 hour hike.
  • Day 4: Drive in a different direction to Waitomo Caves, one of NZ's most popular tourist destinations. If you're an adrenalin junkie, you'll want to partake in one of the black water rafting experiences. If not, there are many more sedate cave tour options.
  • Day 5: A trip down to the Hawkes Bay wine district. This is a 2 hour drive through beautiful country with a spectacular waterfall about 40 minutes out of Taupo. Hawkes Bay is renowned for its Bordeaux-style reds, Syrah, and on the white wine side, Chardonnay. Napier also is a destination for Art Deco fans. The city was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, and was rebuilt during the art deco period.

Each evening, guests return to Tauhara Sunrise where drinks on the patio or at the indoor/outdoor bar await during the summer months, or indoors around the log fire during the cooler months. Acquaintances are made, stories are shared, New Zealand wines and beers are enjoyed and plans are made for dining. Speaking of which, Taupo is endowed with a wide choice of restaurants (for a town of 23,000 that is) and we take pleasure in making recommendations and bookings, and delivering guests to the restaurant of their choice so that they need not worry about drinking and driving.

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