Top things to do

Top Choice Hot Springs in Taupo

Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa

Mineral-laden waters from the Wairakei geothermal steamfield cascade over silica terraces into pools (open to those 14 years and older) nestled in native gardens. For the price, we think there are better self-guided…
Top Choice Waterfall in Taupo

Huka Falls

Clearly signposted and with a car park and kiosk, these falls mark where NZ’s longest river, the Waikato, is slammed into a narrow chasm, making a dramatic 11m drop into a surging crystal-blue pool at 220,000 litres…
Top Choice Museum in Taupo

Taupo Museum

With an excellent Māori gallery and quirky displays, which include a 1960s caravan set up as if the occupants have just popped down to the lake, this little museum makes an interesting rainy-day diversion. The centr…
Top Choice Cafe in Taupo

Storehouse

If you're looking for Taupo's coolest cafe, you've just found it. Setting the scene since 2013, Storehouse is located in an old plumbing store over two levels. Downstairs, indoor plants drape over warehouse beams, a…
Top Choice Natural Feature in Taupo

Orakei Korako

A little off the beaten track, Orakei Korako gets fewer visitors than other thermal areas. But since the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces, it's arguably the best thermal area left in NZ, with active geyser…
Top Choice Cafe in Taupo

Replete Cafe & Store

"You don't come to Taupo without stopping for coffee here," a customer tells us, "It's an institution." He's not wrong. Established in 1993, Replete is split into a cafe and shop selling designer kitchenware, cerami…
Top Choice South American in Taupo

Southern Meat Kitchen

Calling all carnivores! SMK slow-cooks beef brisket, pulled pork and shredded chicken on an American wood-fire smoker – and you can order it by the half-pound (upgrade to a pound for $8). Arrives with mac 'n' cheese…
Cafe in Taupo

Spoon & Paddle

Filling a 1950s house with colourful decor, this cafe feels like popping into a friend's place for brunch with a whole lot of strangers. Breakfast runs all day, and from 11.30am you can order tasty international num…
Historic Site in Taupo

Māori Rock Carvings

Accessible only by boat, these 10m-high carvings were etched into the cliffs near Mine Bay by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the late 1970s. They depict Ngātoro-i-rangi, the visionary Māori navigator w…
Modern NZ in Taupo

Bistro

Popular with locals – bookings are recommended – the Bistro focuses on doing the basics very, very well. That means harnessing local and seasonal produce for dishes such as bacon-wrapped Wharekauhau lamb, washed dow…