Taupo & Tongariro Holidays

Discover the magnificent landscapes of the North Island’s heartland, from towering volcanic peaks to the clear blue-green waters of a boundless crater lake.

The stretching-to-the-horizon vastness of Lake Taupo is made for adventures of every kind. Spend gentle days sailing across the rippling water or kayaking around the shore to tranquil beaches and Māori rock carvings. Stretch your legs on nature-dense trails that head inland along streams and rivers teeming with wild trout, or savour the views from the cycling paths that trace the margins of this inland sea. Or get your heart racing with adrenaline-pumping activities from tandem skydives to a close encounter with a ground-shaking waterfall. The serene beauty of this spot is all the more surprising given the violence of the eruption that created this St Lucia-sized crater lake two millennia ago. The ground still simmers, as you’ll appreciate on a walk through a lunar-like geothermal park or, more indulgently, in one of the area’s natural hot pools.

At Tongariro, the scenery is altogether more starkly dramatic thanks to its trio of active volcanoes that dominate the skyline for miles around. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks cuts through the raw landscape: a day-long hike that passes lakes the colour of emeralds and slopes stained red by minerals. At this double World Heritage Site – with a significance in Māori culture to match its geological importance – you can also explore volcanic terrain softened and smoothed by time. Stroll to sacred lakes through beech forests alive with the cries of native birds, marvel at waterfalls tumbling from ancient cliffs of twisted lava or follow boardwalks over swamps to gaze at golden silica rapids.

If you’d like to experience Taupo & Tongariro your way, talk to us about adding them to your tailor-made New Zealand itinerary.

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Taupo & Tongariro Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Taupo & Tongariro

Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Beautiful grand hotel with a breathtaking setting

Huka Lodge, Taupo

Set on the banks of the Waikato River, this iconic boutique riverside retreat is renowned for its...

Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels Taupo

A boutique lakefront retreat with outstanding dining and access to Taupo's activities.

Get to know Taupo & Tongariro and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +12 (with New Zealand Daylight Time and New Zealand Standard Time applied, this largely equates to 11 hours ahead of the UK from early April to late September and 13 hours ahead from late September to late March)


New Zealand dollar


25½ hours (not including stopover time)


New Zealand has no state religion but the majority of people are Christian


Māori and English

Where are Taupo & Tongariro?
Lake Taupo is in the middle of the North Island, slightly closer to Auckland than to Wellington; Tongariro National Park lies about an hour by road to the south west. Taupo town is just off the crossroads of two major highways, making it a straightforward inclusion on a self-drive tour. There are also regular flights to Auckland and Wellington from Taupo’s small airport.

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Outdoor adventures from Taupo
If you’re yearning to get your pulse racing or just immerse yourself in some astounding scenery, there’s no shortage of options. On the lake itself, glide by kayak to Mine Bay, whose extraordinary Māori rock carvings can only be seen from the water, or take in its sheer immenseness with a parasailing session or tandem skydive. You could hike along the Waikato River to the turbo-charged Huka Falls or get up close on a jet boat, or maybe challenge yourself with white-water rafting on the Tongariro. If you’re into fly-fishing for trout, it’s regarded as one of the best places in the world to do it, especially on the 30-plus unspoiled rivers and streams that flow into Taupo.

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Wild landscapes of Tongariro
The sprawling World Heritage wilderness of Tongariro is dominated by its three active volcanoes – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu – which have been shaping the terrain for around two million years. It’s mindblowing walking territory, whether you opt for short nature trails on Tongariro’s lower slopes, the epic six-day Round the Mountain track or something in between. As well as providing ever-changing panoramas of the volcanic cones, the paths that crisscross the 200,000-acre protected area lead to emerald-hued lakes, thundering waterfalls and steaming craters that hint at the geothermal power below the ground. Keep a lookout for endangered blue ducks on tumbling streams and brown kiwi in the depths of the alpine beech forests.

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Iconic day hike
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is widely regarded as New Zealand’s best one-day trek, with plenty of challenges – not least the unpredictable weather – but also breathtaking sights along the way. The 12-mile route between Mangatepopo Road and Ketetahi Car Park passes through dramatically raw volcanic landscapes, past ancient and not-so-ancient lava flows, providing spectacular views of red-hued craters and lakes stained vivid blue or green by minerals. Note that you’ll need a moderate to good level of fitness to tackle the crossing, the toughest of whose steep climbs goes by the name of the Devil’s Staircase, along with the appropriate footwear and clothing.

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Taupo & Tongariro Weather

Oct - Mar


Taupo & Tongariro Weather by Month