How to Spend a Weekend in Taupō


Lake Taupo. Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō
Lake Taupo. Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō
Home to both stunning luxury lodges and camping grounds, and boasting adventure-sport activities as well as scenic walks, there is something for everyone in the bustling central North Island town.

A mecca for water sports, biking and hiking, Taupō is known as the events capital of New Zealand. Offering a huge range of activities from hot pools to parachuting and bungy jumping, it’s been a popular holiday destination for generations of Kiwis.

The Kinloch Club. Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō

Where to Stay in Taupō

Taupō is home to some of the country’s most stunning luxury lodges and lakefront retreats. Hilton Lake Taupō and Sacred Waters Apartments offer five-star stays minutes from the centre of town.

If you’d like to live it up in a lodge for your Taupō trip, you can experience stunning views of the water and mountains at Lake Taupō Lodge or take in the tranquility of Tongariro River at River Birches Lodge.

Should you be looking to combine sport with your luxury stay, you can get your golf fix on the beautiful course at Kinloch Manor & Villas, or experience the outdoor adventure activities on offer at sporting retreat Poronui Lodge.

And for the ultimate in grandeur, it goes without saying that Huka Lodge is a must – if it’s fit for a Queen, it’s fit for us. To sleep beneath the stars in complete solitude, we recommend Owhaoko’s Te Whare Ruruhau, an exclusive wilderness cabin set amongst native bush and only accessible by helicopter.

Storehouse Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō

Where to Eat in Taupō

Start your day right with great coffee and tasty breakfast options at local favourite, Storehouse.

For a long lunch on the lake side, try Edgewater Restaurant at Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels Taupō for fine dining, or head to the hotel’s other restaurant, Beach 243, if you prefer a more casual vibe.

As for dinner, the buzzing ambiance at Vine Eatery & Bar means you’re guaranteed a fun evening. For a truly special dining experience, you can’t go past The Bistro – this small, family owned and operated restaurant serves sensational fine- dining fare.

Millenium Hotel & Resort Manuels Taupo. Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō

Where to get a drink in Taupō

As we welcome back sunshine-filled days in spring, the Two Mile Bay Sailing Club is where you’ll want to be for an afternoon session.

Here you can spend a day on the shores of the lake sipping ice-cold beer and rosé, eating pizza and taking in the view. The Deck is another great spot for panoramic views of the water, especially if it’s cocktails you’re craving. Finn’s Bistro & Beer Garden is perfect for lapping up some sun and catching sport on the big screen.

Image: Instagram / @spacecraftcreative

Where to Shop in Taupō

Make sure you pop into some of Taupō’s boutiques while wandering around town.

You’ll find some of the best names in New Zealand fashion at …is this Love?, and a fine selection of both local and international designers at Charlie WHO. Spacecraft is a delightful boutique for unique and sustainable gifts, and Jak&Co design studio and store is a go-to for statement furniture and home décor.

Treat yourself to something special at John Taylor Jewellers, which stocks a number of New Zealand brands and has a bespoke in-house collection.

Sail Barbary boats at Mine Bay. Credit: Destination Great Lake Taupō

What to Do in Taupō

Like most destinations in New Zealand, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had in Taupō.

Walking one of the tracks along the banks of the Waikato River to reach the mesmerising Huka Falls is a must. While journeying along the river, stop by Otumuheke Stream, where you can bathe in warm geothermal waters in natural rock pools.

Or if you prefer adrenaline to relaxation, you can experience water-level views of Huka Falls on the Hukafalls Jet. Cruise across Lake Taupō on your own private launch with Chris Jolly Outdoors, or sail to see the extraordinary Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings on board a Sail Barbary or Sail Fearless yacht.

To see Taupō and its surrounds from the skies, book a scenic flight with Taupō’s Floatplane or Heli Adventure Flights.


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