48 Hours in Taupō

In the centre of New Zealand/Aoteaora’s North Island sits the town of Taupō. A picturesque landscape that’s great for exploring with your family in a Dollar rental car, we’ve made it easy for you by putting together a 48-hour itinerary so that you can make the most of your adventures. 

Huka Falls
Explore Huka Falls

Less than a ten minute drive from the centre of Taupō is the stunning Huka Falls. Spending the morning of your first day amongst the impressive falls and the surrounding bush land is a great introduction to Taupō and some of the natural wonders on offer in the region. Walking through native forest along the trail that leads to the falls, you’ll be able to observe the calm and tranquil waters as they flow from New Zealand’s longest river, Waikato River. At the top of the falls, there’s a safe footbridge and viewing platform that lets you watch as the river bursts out of the hard volcanic rock and into the turbulent pool 11 metres below. The effect is astonishing, with the white foam of the water rushing at full speed under you, roaring its way down the falls. This is one spot in Taupō you’ll want to bring your camera for. 

Cruise on Lake Taupō

For the afternoon on your first day, follow Waikato River back down into town and embrace the calm waters of Lake Taupō. The namesake of the town that sits on its shores, Lake Taupō is less like a lake and more like an inland sea, being about the same size as Singapore. There are a range of options to explore the pristine turquoise waters of the lake, such as kayaking, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. One of the best ways to embrace the waters and the historic culture that surrounds the lake’s shores is on a scenic boat cruise. This way, from the comfort of a boat and in the hands of an expert guide, you can observe the lake and the native wildlife around it, as well as the rock carvings along its shores. The Mine Bay Maori rock carvings soar 14 metres high above the surface of the lake and tell the legend of the great Maori high priest Ngatoroirangi. The cruise is only 90 minutes long, giving you the highlights as well as a rich understanding of the beauty and history of the area, and also gives you more than enough time after you dock to wander down to Vine Eatery and Bar for dinner near Lake Taupō’s shores.

Wairakei terraces
Discover Geothermal Delights

Being a town built on volcanic rock, there are many hidden charms of Taupō operating under the surface of the earth. For your second day in Taupō, make your way up north to Wairākei Terraces, only a ten minute drive from the centre of town. The natural thermal springs have been providing a sanctuary to Māori people for centuries, with the restorative waters and soothing hot pools understood to help heal both body and soul. Spend the morning relaxing in these warm, silky pools surrounded by lush native forest and appreciate a tradition of great significance to the people of Taupō. For the afternoon, head twenty minutes further north in your Dollar rental car to Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave. An amazing sightseeing experience unrivalled by anything in the region, this adventure through the geothermal park is a perfect one for the whole family. Upon arrival at the Orakei Korako Visitor Centre, you’ll be transported across the lake on a short ferry trip to the geothermal attraction. From there, you’ll have free reign to experience up-close the playground of geothermal rocks and pools. There are many natural silica terraces to spend the afternoon exploring, as well as New Zealand’s only geothermal cave that reaches more than 35m down into a hot pool at the bottom. 

Relax with a Wine

For your final evening in Taupō, find a table at Two Mile Bay Sailing Club and embrace the view with a hearty meal. Although there are many amazing eateries and restaurants in Taupō, Two Mile Bay is a favourite among both locals and visitors alike. The views of Lake Taupō are unparalleled from the decks of Two Mile Bay, meaning you can enjoy a homemade pizza and gaze out over the wide stretches of aqua blue as it all rolls into the horizon with the sunset. Perfect for both adults and families, Two Mile Bay is a great spot to finish off your trip and relax after all your exploring, accompanied by a good meal and some great Kiwi hospitality. 

Explore all the wonders of Taupō and its rich history with this easy 48-hour itinerary. You’ll leave the shores of Lake Taupō and the beautiful scenery that surrounds feeling relaxed and soothed, ready for your next adventure. 

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