Cultural sights and geothermal attractions
Take a boat cruise or paddle our kayaks (if you're feeling more adventurous) to Mine Bay, where 10 metre-high maori rock carvings can be viewed only from the water. If you would rather go as part of a group, you can book a kayak tour.
Taupo's rich geothermal environment provides a wide array of amazing sights and most attractions are within easy reach of Riverside Apartment - mud pools, the beautifully coloured silica terraces of 'the hidden valley' (Orakei Korako) and the famous 'craters of the moon' and are all close to Taupo. A little over half an hour's drive from Riverside Apartment is the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area, wonderland described as 'one of the 20 most surreal places in the world'.
Taupo spas and hot pools
Wairakei Terraces spa treatments and hot pools are wonderfully relaxing ways to end an activity-packed day. The hot pools soothe those aching muscles and as entry is limited to those 14 years and over, you won't find a more tranquil experience this close to the apartment. If hydroslides for the kids are more your thing but you would still like a peaceful spa-like environment, DeBretts Spa Resort is perfect. Multiple pools of varying temperatures, private spas - and yes, the slides for the kids (or young at hears) are all available. For a more swimming-orientated dip, try the amazing AC Baths and hot pools only five minutes drive from the apartment. The AC Baths also have hydroslides but also conventional slides and rope-swings for the slightly younger kids.
Lake Taupo's trout fishing is second-to-none. Fly fish from the river banks directly in front of the apartment (spin fishing is also permitted in parts of the Waikato River) and you could be eating the freshest trout you've ever tasted, cooked in our beautifully appointed kitchen. Lake fishing is possible from our kayaks or there are several tourist operators that offer fishing day trips and packages. Please remember that a valid Taupo area fishing licence is required to fish for trout - these can be purchased from any of the fishing shops in Taupo township.
Water sports, lake and river activities
The size of Singapore, the freshwater 'inland sea' of Lake Taupo invites water skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing and wakeboarding. An aerial view of the lake can be seen from helicopter or float plane, or for a lake-level view take a cruise.
Normally water and golf don't mix well, but in Taupo you can try your luck with perhaps the world's only 'floating golf green' - a lakefront hole in one 9-iron pitch from the lakeshore!
On a more sedate note, float the Waikato River in one of Riverside Apartment's free kayaks, or alternatively, with an organised Waikato River float tour. It's a wonderfully relaxing way to view the beautiful Waikato River from just below the flow-control bridge to Reid's Farm. From the water you can check out the adventurous taking the leap at Taupo bungy - and then take a warm swim where the thermal waters of the Otumuheke Stream merges with the Waikato River.
Cycling and mountain biking
Probably the best known of Taupo's bike trails is the Great Lake Trail that follows the western shore of Lake Taupo from Waihaha to Whakaipo Bay. The incredible 71km trail is able to be ridden year-round and in all climactic conditions as the pumice soil surface drains quickly in wet weather. Dramatic views across the lake to the Tongariro National Park are best seen riding the trail from west to east. Depending upon your level of fitness (and stamina!) shorter riding options are possible, or for the experienced riders the full trail can be ridden in 2-3 days.
Other trails include a ride from the Huka Falls to the Aratiatia Dam and for a family-friendly Grade 1 path try the Lions Trail from the Two-Mile Bay boatramp that follows the eastern side of the lake.
Hiking and walking
Taking a lakeside stroll or a walk through the bush surrounding the lake are excellent ways to appreciate the plethora of native flora and fauna of the area. For a shorter journey, a few minutes walk into the domain across the river will yield wonderful views of the marina and on a clear day, the mountainous central plateau (you'll also find great coffee at 'Stir' cafe at the Taupo marina. The famous Tongariro crossing provides stunning vistas of the North Island's 'central plateau' or ancient rain forests await in nearby Whirinaki and Pureora Forest Parks. If you'd prefer a more causual stroll, cross the river at the nearby flow-control bridge and in only a few minutes you can wander the riverside paths of the domain.
Two 18-hole courses are available at the Taupo Golf Club. Visitors are welcome to these courses set in a park-like environment close to Mt Tauhara and near to the area's characteristic thermal activity.
The Kinloch Club, designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus is (to quote Sir Bob Charles) 'the number one golf course in New Zealand'. For more information, visit the Kinloch Club website.
Another fine course and voted 'New Zealand's Number One Golf Course' by NZ Golf Magazine can be found in nearby Wairakei.
The Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids
The incredible Huka Falls are New Zealand's most visited tourist attraction and they can be viewed from land-based platforms or from the river courtesy of Hukafalls jet. The Waikato river narrows to only 15 metres and a series of waterfalls culminates in a spectacular 11 metre final drop that ejects up to 220,000 litres of water every second. Hukafalls Jet offers an exhiliarating half-hour of spins and turns and the boat passes breath-takingly close to sheer rockfaces. Then, just a few kilometres away (northbound on State Highway 5 in the direction of Rotorua) you will find the turn-off for the Aratiatia Rapids. Every day at 10am, midday and 2pm the floodgates of the Aratiatia Dam open, filling a huge basin which overflows through the narrow gorge below, forming the Aratiatia Rapids. There are several viewing areas available by short walk to view this amazing site.
If the Waikato River doesn't satisfy the most hard-core adventurer, try some of the best white water rafting in the world on the Tongariro river with Tongariro River Rafting.
The central plateau and mountains
Drive south through Turangi and the terrain rises gently to the North Island's central 'desert' and mountains that famously appeared in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mt Ruapehu is the highest peak in the North Island and rises to 2,797 metres above sea level. Between the three major peaks of 'Tahurangi', 'Te Heuheu' and 'Paretetaitonga' lies a spectacular acidic crater lake, fed by the melting snow.
The incredible Tongariro crossing is rated as one of the best one-day walks in the world and should not be missed.
Scenic chairlift rides are available during summer except on Christmas Day (weather conditions permitting). Two lifts rise over the stunning volcanic terrain and ancient lava flows to an altitude of 2,020 metres above sea level.
Mt Ruapehu has two main commercial ski fields, Whakapapa on the northern side and Turoa on the southern slopes. There is also the Tukino club field which lies on the eastern side of the mountain and is also open to the public.
More information, updates, snow and ski reports are available from Snow HQ.
With more than 30,000 jumps a year it is no surprise that Taupo is often called the skydiving capital of the world. Adrenaline junkies can get their fix with Taupo Tandem Skydiving or Skydive Taupo - both operating from Taupo's airport on the eastern side of the lake, about fifteen minutes drive from our apartment. Mention that you are staying at 'Riverside Apartment' when booking with Taupo Tandem Skydiving and receive a 5% discount.
Bungy jumping and 'The Cliff Hanger'
47 metres of pure terror. An adrenaline surge of epic proportions. Call it what you want, but this is the home of the North Island's most popular bungy jump. Solo or tandem jumps are available and Taupo Bungy NZ offers a unique 'water touch' bungy, where they promise a 'refreshing' experience!
If going vertical is a little too much for you, extreme swingers can reach speeds of up to 70 km/hr during The Cliff Hanger. Solo or tandem jumps are also available, you choose your level of crazy.
Wine and vineyards
For a more sedate way to spend your Taupo holiday, wine enthusiasts will discover that Taupo's emerging vineyards are a must do. The climactic combination of high altitude, cool temperatures are a perfect match for the area's free-draining pumice and gravel-based soil.
Kuratau River Wines is located above the Kuratau River at 30 Riverpark Drive.
Omori Estate is a lake edge vineyard on the south-western corner of Lake Taupo by the Omori stream.
Kid friendly and family activities
Huka Prawn Park
Make a day of it, pack a picnic and take the kids prawn fishing! After an educational tour of the hatchery, grab your rod and bait and try to hook one of these elusive (but very tasty) crustaceans. Don't worry too much if you don't catch lunch - you can purchase the cooked versions from the onsite restaurant that overlooks the beautiful Waikato River. The Huka Jet will provide much entertainment and there is a playground that the kids will love. For more information check out the Huka Prawn Park website. It's only a ten minute drive from Riverside Apartment to the Huka Prawn Park, but please note the following driving directions. Head north on the main road out of Taupo. Keep an eye out for the "1.5 km to go" sign on the left of the road because the actual turn-off (to your right) is not well marked. Look for the helicopters and you're in the right spot!
Hot tip: go early while the prawns are still hungry!
Just ten minutes drive from the apartment (head north and at the Wairakei roundabout take the road towards Rotorua for about 4km) Mind Junction is a brilliant way to spend a few hours or the whole day, especially if the weather isn't so great outside. Specifically designed for kids, there are many absorbing activities that will capture their imagination. Mini-golf, a maze (seriously, they will spend hours in there - giving you plenty of time to relax in the cafe) - flight and shooting simulators, lego displays, models, puzzles and so much more. All at pretty good prices too.
AC Baths swimming pools
These fantastic facilities are brilliant for kids. Offering several indoor and outdoor heated pools plus hydroslides they are also great value for money. For their location and more info check out their website. It's a short drive from the apartment and remember that we provide swimming pool towels in the apartment for your convenience!
Lilliput Animal Farm
Only a short drive away is the wonderfully laid back Lilliput Fun and Animal Park. Domestic animals can be held, patted or fed - including rabbits, deer, sheep, goats, horses, wallabies, peacocks, chickens, geese, ducks, turtles and aviary-housed birds. An old-school playground has carts and rides for the kids and there are a number of amazingly imaginative climbing and playing activities for the young and young at heart. 136 Link Road, just off State Highway One and about 15km from Riverside Apartment.
More information and activities
For more information about what to do in the Great Lake Taupo region, please visit the Official Great Lake Taupo Visitor Information website.Please note that Riverside Apartment will attempt to keep the information and events listings featured in this website up to date, but takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained within. Users of this information are encouraged to seek independent confirmation of dates, times, locations and other facts