Taupo, like Rotorua, is built for adrenaline junkies. There are hundreds of companies advertising sky dives, bungee jumps, jet boat rides, helicopter tours and sea plane flights. All these activities are centred around Lake Taupo which we were impressed to find out is the caldera of a large volcano.
The volcanic nature of the area is obvious with geysers and geothermal pools everywhere, however Taupo manages to avoid having the same poignant odour that Rotorua achieves. Unfortunately for us our trip to Taupo was cursed with rain meaning we spent our few days searching for ‘rainy day activities’. A quick Google of Taupo’s rainy day scene and on the surface there seemed to be a lot to do. The reality of this was far different. So we braved the weather and enjoyed our trip anyway.
Tips for Taupo on a Budget
- Huka Falls (free): The waterfall itself is really impressive. In fact, the volume of water passing over the falls is approx 220,000 litres per second! There are a number of walks around the falls which vary in length as well as mountain bike trails.
- Aratiatia Rapids (free): Go to closest lookout point from the car park at one of the times specified below to see the damn released. Summer release hours: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm. Winter release hours: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm. We didn’t realise this until after but it is where the dwarves in the barrel scene is filmed for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
- Crators on the Moon ($8): An enjoyable hour walk and the money you pay goes to the charity to keep the walk open and well maintained. As stated on it’s website ‘The Craters of the Moon (COM) is a geothermal walkway that wanders through a weird, other-worldy, landscape featuring bubbling craters and steaming vents.’
- Otumuheke Stream, Spa Park (free): A natural hot spring only 10 minutes walk from the car park!