Taupo is home to New Zealand’s largest lake as well as a myriad of stunning landscapes. This hot spot (no really, it's a geothermal area), is the ideal place for a weekend away with the kids. Here are 19 family-friendly activities to do while you're there:
Visit Huka Falls
Witness the phenomenon of natural hydropower with more than 220,000 litres of water barrelling over the 11-meter high water fall every second. If getting on the water is more your thing, the Huka Falls River Cruise might float your boat, or if you have a need for speed then Huka Falls Jet is a half-hour of thrills, fun, and excitement that will take you along the Waikato River to view Huka Falls from the base of the falls.
Rafting on the Tongariro River
Float down the Tongariro River and marvel at the magnificent scenery and observe the many species of native wildlife that surround you.
DeBretts hot pools and water park
The DeBretts hot pools and water park is a great place to unwind while the kids get amongst the action. The kids will have a blast at the warm water playground where there are tunnels, a water wheel, water pop-ups, and a mushroom shower to keep the kids entertained for hours.
A must-do Taupo attraction, Mind Junction has a giant maze, discovery centre, lego display, mini gold house, and a flight simulator, which means there is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family.
Volcanic activity centre
The Turangi volcanic activity centre is the gateway to Taupo's volcanic zone. The hands-on educational centre aims to bring the explosive past and present volcanic and geothermal features of the area to life.
The AC Baths is a family-friendly pool complex that has two toddler areas, two hydro slides, and a Tarzan swing to keep the kids entertained. All the pools are thermally heated using natural hot water promising a relaxing and enjoyable day out for the whole family.
Rock n Ropes
Face your fear of heights at Rock n Ropes Taupo. With adventure courses that have a trapeze, giant swing, wire bridges, high logs and more, you’ll definitely leave with an adrenaline buzz.
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Often described New Zealand’s greatest day walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a must-do if you are in the region. Home to lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes, and magnificent views this will be a walk the family will never forget. We have a guide to doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as a family so check that out for all our tips.
Lilli Put farm and animal park
Lilli Put farm and animal farm is a lovely family-friendly activity. With plenty of animals to meet including donkey, ponies, emus, goats, sheep, deer, llama, alpaca, pigs, and more, plus slides and swings, a trampoline, ride-on toys, and huts to play in the kids will have a fabulous day out.
If your kids have a need for speed then head along to Taupo Karts where the karts have the biggest engine of any recreational kart in the world. Though for little kids, there are children’s karts so everyone can have fun on the exhilarating kart track.
Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon is a geothermal walkway that showcases the natural thermal activity of Taupo including bubbling craters, steam vents, and colourful soils.
Sail or kayak on Lake Taupo to see the Maori rock carvings
Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake, and there is plenty to explore once you're on the water. The Western Bays are home to spectacular Maori rock carvings or explore around Masons Rock, an impressive volcanic fan of rock emerging from the lake. Boat and kayak tours are the best way to explore the Lake and there are plenty of options.
Taupo mini golf
Enjoy a few holes of mini golf at Taupo Mini Golf against the backdrop of Lake Taupo and the mountains.
Huka Prawn Park
New Zealand’s only prawn park offers a fun-filled day of entertainment for the whole family. Join the behind the scenes guided tour through the nursery and hatchery, hear about the 30-year history, meet the prawns and even hand feed baby prawns. Before heading the boating lake to paddleboard or use the water trikes or pedal boats, head down the adventure trail to feed the trout, battle on the water cannons or tackle the water gauntlets. Then for the main event, don’t forget to go prawn fishing if you can catch em that is.
Head out on Lake Taupo on a Doughboat! Yes, a donut-shaped boat, six people can fit on these eco-friendly boats and are super easy to captain.
Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park
Situated on the banks of the Waikato River lies the hidden valley of Orakei Korako and thermal park. Off the beaten tourist track, it takes a short ferry trip over Lake Ohakuri to get there, the park breathtaking beauty of this thermal wonderland is not to be missed.
Taupo wake park
The Taupo Wake Park is great fun for all water sport lovers. Operating in a man-made lake beside the Waikato River, the cable runs between two towers pulling you along in a figure-8 formation. There is no minimum age for the wake park, but kids do need to be confident in the water.
Waipahihi botanical gardens
The Waipahihi Botanical Gardens is 35 hectares of stunning walkways and gardens to enjoy. There are over 2000 rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas intermingled amongst the forest trees to enjoy. There is loads of space for kids to run free and play games in the open spaces.
Huka honey hive
Get up and close with honey bees at the Huka Honey Hive. The guided tours take you through the gardens and beehives to watch the bees busy at work. There are also other family-friendly activities to take part in and honey to sample.