We recently spent a few days in Taupo and enjoyed many of the best things to do in Taupo with kids. If you plan to visit Taupo during your New Zealand holiday, you’re in for a real treat! With its vast and diverse landscape, including lakefront setting, the gorgeous cascades of Huka Falls, geothermal hot spots and volcanic terrain valleys, it is a nature lover’s paradise!
There are so many great Taupo family activities, with most of the things to do in Taupo, New Zealand revolving around its gorgeous natural setting. From a scenic cruise on Lake Taupo to a relaxing soak in one of the Taupo hot springs or the various Taupo attractions for family – there is something for everyone here. There are even Taupo activities for the families that love a bit of adrenaline such as bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving too!
To help you decide what to do in Taupo with kids, I have put together this guide on all the best places to visit in Taupo with the kids, as well as tips on places to stay in Taupo.
Talk to other families about their tips on visiting NZ and join our Thrifty Family Travels Facebook group here now or be inspired on our Thrifty Family Travel Instagram Feed.
This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.
Where is Taupo?
Taupo is in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island and is located by Lake Taupo, the biggest lake in Australasia. With Lake Taupo the size of Singapore, some say it’s more like an inland sea rather than a lake.
Taupo is around 3.5 hours drive from Auckland, 4.5 hours drive from Wellington, or Rotorua to Taupo is only 1 hour. Whilst Taupo is accessible by car, bus or plane (the nearest airport is Rotorua or the international airport in Auckland), I recommend hiring a car as it will be much easier to get around to see all the various Taupo tourist attractions and activities.
Taupo Things to do Family Map
To help with your planning process and decide which Taupo kids activities to do, I’ve also provided this handy map below, which shows you where all the different attractions are. Zoom in and out for a better view of all the things to do in Taupo New Zealand.
24 of The Best Things to do in Taupo with Kids
There are plenty of things to do in Lake Taupo NZ and in this guide, I detail some of the more popular Lake Taupo activities and what I’d recommend for families visiting the area.
Please note that all prices mentioned in this Taupo things to do family guide are in New Zealand Dollar and were correct at the time of writing and may fluctuate depending upon changes to currency conversion and rate increases. To check the rate in your local currency, click here.
Let’s start with not only one of the best things to see in Taupo, but it’s also one of the free things to do in Taupo NZ- a visit to the stunning cascading Huka Falls.
Take the kids to see the amazing sight of more than 200,00 litres of water per second plummeting through the narrow gap of the 11-metre-high waterfall.
It’s easy to see Huka Falls. From the Huka Falls car park it’s a short 1-2 minute walk to the bridge. Alternatively, you can take the easy 90-minute walk from Spa Park up to Huka Falls or get even close by taking a jet boat ride or river cruise.
Huka Falls is just a short 10-minute drive north of Taupo and is one of the Taupo top 10 places to visit.
Location: Huka Falls Road
Huka Falls Opening Hours: Winter: 8 am to 5.30 pm & Summer: 8 am to 6 pm
Taupo Museum and Ora – Garden of Wellbeing
The Taupo Museum is another one of the things to do in Taupo for kids. This is a small yet interesting museum well worth taking the kids to. Here you’ll find exhibits showcasing the region’s local history as well as art displays, a scenic garden and a children’s activity area. And this is also one of the Taupo things to do free for kids!
Items on display include a stunning Maori meeting house, artefacts from local Maori tribes, art sculptures, Kiwiana Caravan, which is an old caravan filled with items dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, a virtual tour of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and more.
Outside is the gorgeous Ora Garden of Wellbeing – the perfect place to wander and relax after exploring the various museum displays. This garden has been designed to resemble a geothermal landscape typical of North Island. You can explore the man-made silica terraces and walk among almost 1,000 native plants, some of which are endangered. You’ll also find hand-carved wooden sculptures within the gardens.
Location: 4 Story Place, Taupō
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm
Price: NZD $5 per adult and free for kids
Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave
One of the top things to do in Taupo is to check out some of the Taupo thermal attractions. During our visit, we went to Orakei Korako, which Lonely Planet describes as “arguably the best thermal area left in New Zealand”. It’s a fantastic place to visit for those looking for things to do in Taupo for families.
Situated just 30 minutes North of Taupo and located somewhat off the beaten track between Taupo and Rotorua, Orakei Korako is a highly active geothermal area. With more than 250 hot springs and 23 active geysers to see, Orakei Korako is still the largest geyser field in New Zealand.
To access the thermal park, you will need to take a short boat ride across the Waikato River. There are no scheduled departure times; the boat simply crosses the river whenever passengers are waiting. Once you arrive on the other side, simply take the boardwalk around the park. The walk around the entire park takes around 90 minutes and is absolutely mesmerizing! During your walk, you will see bubbling water, spurting geysers, gurgling mud pools, vibrant colours and volcanic hot springs. I’ve never seen anything like it – we all found it fascinating.
Whilst the walk around is fairly easy and we did it with ease, there are quite a few steps, so it’s not ideal for anyone with mobility issues or a pram.
Once you complete your walk and take the boat back across the river, there is a small café where you can purchase lunch, snacks and drinks.
A visit to Orakei Korako Thermal Park has to be up there as one of the best things to do near Taupo. I highly recommend a visit with your family when visiting Taupo.
Location: Orakei Korako Road
Opening Hours: 8 am until 4.30 pm
Price: NZD $45 per adult | NZD $19 per child (6-16) | NZD $118 per family (2A+2C) | Under 6s are free – Click here to book tickets online.
Water Activities on Lake Taupo
Photo Credit: Miles Holden
Another great way to explore Lake Taupo is to hire a jet ski, kayak or stand up paddleboard. There are a few different places around Lake Taupo where you can hire equipment; you can even hire a boat which would be ideal for a family outing.
Places like Lake Fun Taupo hire everything, including boats, paddleboards, waterskis, jet skis and more. Any of these watercraft are a great way to explore the lake. You could even take your boat or kayak over to see the Maori Rock Carving yourself.
Location: End of Ferry Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Weekdays – 10 am to 5 pm | Weekends – 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Price: Varies depending on what you hire.
One of the most fun things to do in Taupo (and definitely on my top 10 things to do in Taupo) is to take a quick visit to the Aratiatia Rapids. Here you will see the dam wall open to release thousands of litres of water, creating the rapids – an absolute true spectacle.
To see the rapids, it’s a short drive north of Taupo to the car park. Here you can either watch the dam walls open from the top or for a better view, take the short 5 minute walk to see a front on view.
I kind of expected the rapids to happen straight away, but it takes quite a while for the rock pools to fill up and then for the water to come rushing through. But once it does, it’s really a fantastic thing to see. It’s a great free attraction if you’re looking for quick and easy things for kids to do in Taupo.
Simply something that is a must do in Taupo, the Aratiatia Rapids provides a fun and exciting experience for the whole family. If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Taupo, this is free of charge!
Make sure to turn up with at least 10 minutes to spare to make it to the viewing platform with time before the release occurs.
Location: 630 Aratiatia Road, Rotokawa
Opening Hours: Winter (April to September) 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm | Summer (October to March) 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm.
Huka Falls River Cruise
This is a great activity to link with the previous attraction, as the Huka Falls River Cruise departs from the Aratiatia Rapids Carpark and will let you experience the best views of Huka Falls during the 80 minute river cruise.
This is the only cruise that will take you to the base of the Huka Falls. The boat stops in the turbulent white water for the most incredible photo opportunities.
As well as the falls, you will also see birdlife, natural hot streams, crystal clear water, trout and more. You can also enjoy tea and coffee whilst cruising along the water.
The kids will also absolutely love seeing the crashing Huka Falls, an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime. With times that perfectly link up to the Aratiatia Rapids release times, this cruise is great for families looking for kids activities Taupo has to offer.
Location: Tours depart from the car park beside the Aratiatia Dam and Rapids at Aratiatia Road, Rotokawa
Opening Hours: Cruises depart at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm – Summer only for the 4.30 pm tour.
Price: NZ $42 per adult | NZ $15 per child | NZ $99 family pass | under 5s are free
Swim in Lake Taupo
Whether you’re looking for things to do in Taupo with toddlers, teenagers or all ages in between, a swim in Lake Taupo beach is a must – particularly if you’re visiting in the warmer months. As you can see from the picture above, the water is absolutely crystal clear and is just screaming for you to get in. It’s pretty shallow too, so ideal for families with toddlers.
Lake Taupo is actually a large collapsed volcanic crater – said to be around the size of Singapore! So as you can imagine, this lake is massive!
Whilst you’re there, be sure to walk along the foreshore a little further for a family photograph in front of the most insta-worthy attractions in Taupo, the #Lovetaupo sign – a must do Taupo activity!
Huka Prawn Park
When you’re wondering what to do in Lake Taupo with the kids, I highly recommend spending at least a few hours at Huka Prawn. Huka Prawn Park is just minutes from the Taupo town centre and offers a fun-filled day of entertainment for the entire family.
While the main attraction at Huka Prawn Park use to be fishing for prawns, unfortunately, due to prawn numbers unexpectedly dropping off, the park currently doesn’t offer this as an activity. However, there is plenty to do at Huka Prawn and it is one of the unique Taupo experiences on offer.
I highly recommend taking the tour of the prawn hatchery and nursery first if you can. These tours last around 25 minutes and go every hour, on the hour. During the tour, you’ll learn all about prawns as well as the chance to feed the baby prawns, which was so cute!
Some of the other activities at Huka Prawn include water trikes, water pedal boats, trout feeding (fish food included), kids playground and some good old water play areas for the kids. A great trip to let your kids off the leash and have some fun.
There’s also the famous Huka Prawn Park Restaurant where you can relax and enjoy some great food.
What at first seems like an odd premise quickly becomes one of the Taupo must do attractions. Bound to be a fun day out for the kids and parents alike; a great attraction for those after family things to do in Taupo.
Location: Huka Falls Road, Wairakei Tourist Park, Taupo
Opening Hours: Weekends 9am to 3.30pm (restaurant + fun park) | Mon/Tue/Fri 9.30am to 3pm (restaurant only)
Price: $25 per adult | $13.50 per child (5-15) | $65 per family (2A+2C) | Under 5’s are free
Taupo Maori Rock Carving Cruises
If you’re looking for family activities Taupo offers where you can relax for a few hours, take a scenic 1.5 hour cruise on the pristine waters of Lake Taupo. Hop aboard the comfy, heated catamaran and sit back, relax and take in the live commentary from your Taupo travel guide and beautiful sights.
The boat is a great size – not overly big, so it’s not too crowded, but also big enough to move around freely. The boat has upstairs and downstairs as well as a small standing area out the front. My pick is the downstairs area – here there are large windows to admire the lake from as well as being close to the outdoor viewing area when you want to get some fresh air or a closer look at the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu.
The cruise highlight is getting to see the famous Maori rock carvings, one of the most famous Lake Taupo attractions. Whilst admiring the carvings, the staff onboard provide commentary about Maori mythology. After checking out the carvings, the staff do a trout fishing demonstration (afternoon cruise only) and even give a few guests the opportunity to catch their own trout. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any during our cruise – however we were provided with some lovely smoked trout to try.
Included in the cost is a coffee or tea and hot muffin, and over the school holidays, there are extra activities for the kids. They can even get their skipper certificate – as you can see this is one of the things to do Lake Taupo suitable for both adults and children.
The cruise was a lovely way to relax on Lake Taupo – perhaps not one of the most exciting things to do with kids in Taupo, it is perfect for Mum and Dad to get some quiet time.
Location: Taupo Boat Harbour, Berth 4, Taupo Boat Harbour, Redoubt Street, Taupō
Opening Hours: Daily cruises at 10:30am and 1:30pm
Price: $45 per adult | $20 per child (5-18) | $99 per family pass (2A+2C) | Under 5s are free – Click here to book your discounted tickets online.
Huka Honey Hive
Near Huka Falls, you can find the Huka Honey Hive, which stocks New Zealand’s largest selection of artisan honey products. The Huka Honey Hive offers free samples of honey (awesome if you’re looking for things to do in Taupo for free!!), mead and skincare products.
Every person working at the Huka Honey Hive is passionate about protecting our bees and all that they do for our environment. This is one of the fun and educational things to do with kids Taupo offers, as the kids see the bees up close whilst also learning about the importance of their pollination.
If you’re super keen to learn more about the bees, then why not go on an interactive and personalised honey tour, and step further into the world of honey and bees. The tours go for 75 minutes and you’ll need to wear a bee suit as this is a real hands on tour – it is a real authentic Taupo to do activity. Tours are run from mid October to early April.
Location: 65 Karetoto Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10am to 5pm | Weekends 9am to 5pm
Price: Entry is free however tours have a fee.
Huka Falls Jet Boat Ride
One of the more exciting family activities in Taupo would have to be an exhilarating 30-minute ride on the Huka Falls Jet Boat Taupo.
Skimming the water at speeds up to 80 kph, you’ll have to hold on tight as the jet boat spins around 360 degrees, transporting you past the Aratiatia Dam and the Wairakei Geo-Thermal Power Station. You’ll be deafened by the roar of the powerful falls, which can reach as high as 9.5 metres, depending on the water flow. The sheer exhilaration of the ride will leave you wanting more. This is perfect for those wanting to take their Taupo adventures up a notch or two!
You must pre-book your tickets for this experience. The price includes a return coach transfer from Taupo and the use of a life jacket. For safety reasons, participants below 1 metre tall cannot participate in this activity, so this is one of the activities in Taupo for families with slightly older children.
Location: 200 Karetoto Road, Wairakei Tourist Park, Lake Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm
Price: $105.95 per adult | $79.95 per child (5-15) – click here to book discounted tickets online.
Relax in Hot Taupo Pools
Photo Credit – Miles Holden
One of the best things to do Taupo has… is of course its hot pools! You can’t come to Taupo without relaxing in one of the many hot pools Taupo has to offer. There are various hot Taupo pools and Lake Taupo hot springs on offer and in fact, you may be lucky enough that your accommodation has its own hot pools. We stayed at Lake Taupo Holiday Resort which had its own thermally heated pools, so we didn’t venture out to any others, but if you’re not so lucky here are a few to consider :
Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa
With thermal bathing pools, massage therapy, Maori cultural experiences and tours of silica terraces and the geothermal areas, the Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa is perfect for a relaxing and rejuvenating day out.
Location: Wairakei Road, Wairakei
Opening Hours: Summer (October to March) 8:30am to 9pm | Winter (April to September) 8.30am to 8.30pm | Pool closes each Thursday from 7pm
Price: $25 per person, children under 14 years of age are not permitted.
If you’re after the free hot pools Taupo has to offer, head on over to the Otumuheke Stream (pictured above), which flows into Waikato River at Spa Thermal Park. For a natural Taupo spa, soak under a waterfall or relax in the natural rock pools whilst admiring the natural beauty of the crystal-clear waters of the Waikato River. This is one of the best free activities in Taupo.
Location: County Avenue, Spa Thermal Park, Taupo
Opening Hours: Public Spot – Open 24/7
Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs
The DeBretts Taupo Hot Springs offer thermal mineral hot pools as well as some Taupo activities for kids. The kids will love the dragon hydro slide, the two heated racing slides and the children’s interactive warm water playground.
There are also private pools and spa treatments if you want to have more of a relaxing time.
Location: 76 Napier-Taupo Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily 8.30am to 9pm
Price: $24 per adult | $13 per child (4-12) | $3 per child (3 and under) | $85 per family (2A+4C) – Click here to book online
Tokaanu Thermal Pools
The Tokaanu Thermal Pools are private, natural mineral pools that are heated between 39˚C to 41˚C. It is recommended to enjoy the thermal pools before entering the large public pool, which is a chlorinated pool heated between 36˚C to 38˚C. Pre-schoolers have their own chlorinated pool situated right beside the main pool, heated to 36˚C.
While visiting the Tokaanu Thermal Pools, go exploring on the Tokaanu Thermal Walk. It is a short, easy walk around the thermal area, where you will see the steaming hot mineral pools in sinter basins and spluttering mud pots among the native bush.
Location: Mangaroa Street, Tokaanu, Turangi
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 9pm
Price: Private Pools: $12 per adult | $8 per child (5-16) | Under 5s are free | Public Pools: $8 per adult | $6 per child (5-16) | Under 5s are free
AC Baths Hot Pools Taupo
Located just five minutes drive from the town centre of Taupo (and across the road from the Lake Taupo Holiday Resort), AC Baths is an all-weather, family-friendly pool complex that is thermally heated using natural hot water.
This state-of-the-art complex will provide your family with hours of entertainment. Facilities include a large leisure outdoor pool with two toddler areas, two 25 metre lane pools, a tarzan swing, two hydro slides, and four private thermal mineral pools. A sauna and café are also available on site. With prices starting at $4.50 per child this is one of the cheap family things to do in Taupo.
The thermal pools are available to use at an extra cost.
Location: 26 AC Baths Avenue, Taupo
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 6am to 9pm | Weekends 7am to 7pm
Price: $9.50 per adult | $4.50 per child | $23 per family (2A+3C) | $1 per spectator | $7 unlimited Hydro slides
Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge
Another one of the family friendly things to do in Taupo is a visit to the Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge. The Hole in One is a place to have fun and challenge yourself or your family. This is a scenic spot where you aim at one of the three floating golf targets and try to get a hole in one.
If you get a hole in one, you’ll win $10,000! With such a prize on offer we’re surprised Taupo tourism isn’t through the roof! It is also one of the cheapest activities in Taupo, and they will give you a refund if you don’t have fun!
Location: 61 Lake Terrace, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily 9am until 5pm
Price: $2 per ball, $20 for 15 balls, $30 for 30 balls, $45 for 50 balls. You receive a free ball every time you hit the pontoon.
Another place worth adding to your Taupo sightseeing list is Lava Glass. Lava Glass is home to a gallery, studio, sculpture garden and café, making it a great place to stop and check out. Children will particularly enjoy watching the glass blowing process as well as exploring the colourful glass sculpture garden.
It’s fascinating watching artist and owner Lynden Over in the studio demonstrating the glassblowing process. You can then view some of his work in the sculpture garden, which across its acre of manicured gardens features more than 600 glass sculptures. Here you’ll find glass flowers, ponds, a rainbow, glass mushrooms and even a waterfall.
Location: 165 State Highway 5, Wairakei, Taupō
Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Price: Glass blowing studio is $12.50 per person or $40 per family (2A+2C) | Glass sculpture garden is $12.50 per person or $40 per family (2A+2C) | Combined ticket is $20 per person or $70 per family (2A+2C) | Under 5s are free for all
Mind Junction Activity Park
It can be tricky working out what to do Taupo with toddlers as well as older children – but a great place to take them would be Mind Junction. There is plenty to do at Mind Junction, making it a great place for families with kids of all ages. Here there are six separate activities to explore, all with individual entry prices.
- Discovery Centre: This is a hands on interactive display where you can see optical illusions, take part in science experiments and plenty more – the perfect place to learn and have fun.
- Giant Maze: Get lost in the giant maze and solve problems as you go.
- Flight Simulator: If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a pilot, here is your chance. In this flight simulator, you’ll fly over cities such as Las Vegas, London, Wellington and more.
- Lego Display: If you’re a family who loves Lego, then you must check out the Lego display – 30 years in the making.
- Shooting Simulator: This shooting simulator has 15 different games where you can test your shooting skills.
- Mini Golf: This 9 hole mini golf course is fun for the whole family
There is also a café and shop too making this a convenient place to refuel and pick up any souvenirs. If you’re looking for what to do in Taupo NZ for the whole family, the Mind Junction could be just the place!
Location: 8 Palmer Mill Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 4pm
Price: Discovery Centre: $15 per person | Mini Golf: $10 per person | Giant Maze: $10 per person | Flight Simulator: $35 per person | Lego Display: $5 per person | Shooting Simulator: $15 per person
Craters of the Moon
Another thermal area in Taupo is the Craters of the Moon – another great place for families looking for things to do around Taupo. Showcasing the natural thermal activity of Taupo, the Craters of the Moon geothermal walkway wanders through an almost other-worldly landscape featuring bubbling craters and steaming vents.
There are two tracks to walk in this geothermal area, the first being the main track is an easy 45-minute walk for all ages. The top track adds 20 minutes to the walk but leads to a great lookout at the end; a great photo opportunity!
It is however, important to note that the tracks are not overly pram/stroller friendly, so keep that in mind for your young ones for these Taupo walks.
Location: 171 Karapiti Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 4pm
Price: $8 per adult | $4 per child (5-15) | $20 per family (2A+4C) | Under 5s are free
The Squeeze Tour
Another one of the awesome Taupo things to do is to take the Squeeze tour. The Squeeze is an adventure of a lifetime that takes you up close and personal with the beautiful New Zealand environment. Beginning with a scenic jet boat ride along the Waikato River, you will learn about the history and legends of the area from your Lake Taupo guide while taking in the breath-taking scenery.
Exit the boat into the warm water and start The Squeeze – move through narrow rocks and crevasses and become surrounded by the serenity of the bush. You will then enter the beautiful geothermal waters of the hot spring and cascading waterfalls.
Then it’s time to prepare for the jet ride home, where the driver will put the pedal to the metal and perform highly skilled manoeuvres and jet spins. This is an absolutely amazing way to see some of New Zealand’s waterways and bush that is usually missed.
Location: New Zealand Riverjet, The Squeeze, Corner of State Highway 5 and Tutukau Road, Reporoa, Rotorua
Opening Hours: Tours depart daily at 11am and 2pm
Price: $229 per adult | $125 per child (3-15) | $599 per family pass (2A+2C)
Taupo Mini Golf
Taupo Mini Golf is another excellent choice for families after things to do in Taupo – kids will love. Taupo Mini Golf is the only 18 hole mini golf course in Taupo and is a well-maintained golf course located on the lakefront with an amazing view of the mountains. If you get a hole in one on the 18th hole, you win a free game!
Location: 11 Northcroft Street, Taupo
Opening Hours: Summer 9am to evening | Winter 9am to 5.30pm
Price: $13 per adult | $9 per child (5-14) | $3 per child (under 5) | $40 per family (2A+2C)
Photo Credit – Mead Norton
Adrenaline junkies unite! New Zealand is renowned for its bungy jumping experiences, and the Taupo Bungy Jumping is one of New Zealand’s most scenic jumps. Jumping from the platform 47 metres above the ground, your heart will race as you plunge toward the crystal-clear waters of the Waikato River. This is the highest water-touch bungy in New Zealand.
Get wet or stay dry…..the choice is yours. Bungy jump Taupo specialise in freefalls into the water below, so you can just dip your hands or go the whole hog and be fully submerged. After your jump is complete, take in the lovely scenery on your walk back to the office.
Available in solo or tandem jumps, this is a must-do activity for thrill-seekers. Even the kids can do it! (must be aged 10 years and over). It’s also great to just go and watch – for free! The company also offers complimentary pick-ups and drop-offs.
Location: 202 Spa Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.30am to 4pm | Weekends 9.30am to 5pm
Price: $185 per person on average (there are different rates for different dates) – age and weight restrictions apply
Taupo Swing Experience
Photo Credit – Mead Norton
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to jump off tall cliffs, then have a go at the Taupo Swing. Jumping from a platform that is 44 metres above the Waikato River, you will soar through the air at up to 70 kph in a nearly 180° arc. For an extra thrill, ask for the surprise release option as opposed to the countdown. Then take in the stunning views of the river and hinterland as the swinging speed slows.
You can choose to go solo or swing with a friend for an awesome shared experience. This is a one-of-a-kind way to see the amazing views of Taupo. This experience is suitable for children aged 10 and over.
Location: 202 Spa Road, Taupo
Opening Hours:Monday – Friday 9.30am to 4pm | Weekends 9.30am to 5pm
Price:$160 per person on average (there are different rates for different dates) – age and weight restrictions apply
Taupo Tandem Skydiving
Photo Credit – Destination Lake Taupo
If 44 metres isn’t high enough for you, how about jumping from 15,000 feet?! With up to 60 seconds worth of freefall time, this is the ultimate adrenaline high.
Strap on your suit and chute and head up into the clouds above Lake Taupo and the mountains of Tongariro Park. With the choice of jumping from 12,000ft or 15,000ft or up to 18,000ft, admire the amazing views while you approach jumping height. Once ready, you and your instructor will jump out the door for a freefall frenzy!
Once the parachute opens, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the scenery of Taupo while you soar gracefully towards the ground.
You have the options to pay extra to get photos and videos of your jump to take the memories home with you. With free local pickup and free WiFi on site, tick skydiving off your bucket list with the crew at Taupo Tandem Skydiving.
There is no age limit for this experience, but children must be at least 8 years old.
Location: Anzac Memorial Drive, Taupo Airport, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily with hourly jump times between 9am to 5pm.
Price: $279 per person – click here to book your discounted tickets online
Scenic Helicopter Flights
If you want to take in the views from up above but skydiving isn’t your cup of tea, how about a 15-minute scenic helicopter flight?
The flight starts in Taupo, making its way to the Huka Falls and 10-metre-high Maori Rock Carvings – two of the most scenic icons in the area. Watch in awe as 200,000 litres of water makes its way down a 20 metre drop into the pool below at Huka Falls.
To complete the flight, you are treated to the stunning views of Acacia Bay, Taupo Boat Harbour, Craters of the Moon and the Wairakei Geothermal Area. For views and experience of New Zealand like no other, take a scenic helicopter flight during your Taupo holidays.
Location: 415 Huka Falls Road, Taupo
Opening Hours: Flights operate daily
Price: From $229 per person, minimum 2 passengers required.
Waipahihi Botanical Gardens
If you’re wondering what to do in Taupo for free, then why not take the family to Waipahihi Botanic Gardens. Spanning across 35 hectares, the botanical gardens include several trails to explore where you can wander among the trees as well as see the local birdlife. Along the trail, you’ll also have views of Taupō, Mount Tauhara and the lake with the mountains in the distance.
During October and November, the gardens come alive as the rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas bloom. Over 2000 flowers have been planted throughout the gardens, which result in a spectacular floral display during late Spring.
The gardens have various picnic tables where you can enjoy lunch, as well as wide open spaces for the kids to run amuck.
Location: Hyde Ave, Waipahihi, Taupo
Opening Hours: Daily from dusk till dawn
Price: Free – donations welcome
Family Accommodation Taupo
There are plenty of great places to stay in Taupo for families. We stayed at Lake Taupo Holiday Resort which I recommend as the best family accommodation Taupo offers. However, there are plenty of great family hotels Taupo has and below I’ve shortlisted a couple for you to consider.
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
During our time in Taupo, we stayed at the fabulous Lake Taupo Holiday Resort – this place is like heaven on earth for families and I found it hard to actually leave and explore all the wonderful Taupo attractions and activities!
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort is 3 km from the town centre, which is only a 4-minute drive or a 35-minute walk. It’s also only a short 20-minute walk to the Huka Falls Walkway.
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort has all sorts of accommodation to cover all kinds of travelling families. There is a range of self-contained units to accommodate groups of all sizes with studio rooms, as well as 2 and 3 bedrooms. There are units large enough to accommodate up to 10 guests. Alternatively, the resort offers both powered and non-powered sites.
During our few days at Lake Taupo Holiday Resort, we stayed at the Wimbledon Cottage, which is a massive 3 bedroom self contained cottage. The place was more like a swanky apartment! There was a great size kitchen, dining area and lounge, as well as a massive private deck that had lovely bushland views. The bedrooms were spacious too, with one bedroom having 2 singles and another with a queen bed. The master bedroom was huge and had a stunning ensuite – seriously; I couldn’t believe I was staying in a holiday park!
The cottage had everything a family would need to stay a week or more easily! The kitchen was fully stocked, including hot plates, microwave, toaster, kettle, fridge/freezer, cutlery and plates. I also loved the deck outside with an outdoor setting, perfect for having your meals in the fresh air. There are table and chairs inside as well.
Onsite there is also 3 different BBQ areas where guests can use the gas BBQs for free. We made use of these BBQs on both nights we stayed. Plus there is a basic shop which sells things like bread, milk, coffee, chocolate and ice creams – the essentials!
Not only does the resort have great accommodation, but they also have excellent facilities to keep the kids occupied. These guys have so much going on that you will never want to leave! And it’s not just for the kids; the parents are well and truly taken care of as well.
This pool was amazing. It’s a thermally heated, tropical style pool with a swim up bar and café!!! And that’s not all – it also has an underwater cave, spa and a giant outdoor movie screen and small kids water play area. This would have to be one of the best swimming pool areas I have ever been to.
They also have a huge jumping pillow; apparently this is the largest jumping pillow in New Zealand!!! And for the little munchkins, they even have a tiny baby jumping pillow. There is also a playground with a jungle gym, swings and slides.
There is also beach volleyball, basketball court, tennis courts, games rooms and you can even hire bikes and 3 or 4-wheeler pedal go karts.
Click here to check current pricing or to make a booking.
Other Places to Stay in Taupo with Kids
If Lake Taupo Holiday Resort is booked out during your visit (I really hope it isn’t!!!), here are a few other family friendly Taupo motels to consider:
Absolute Lake View Motel
The Absolute Lake View Motel is the ultimate Taupo lakefront accommodation, located on the shores of Lake Taupo and only a few minutes walk to shops and restaurants.
Families of up to 5 can sleep in a one-bedroom suite with 2 double beds and a single bed. Rooms conveniently come with a kitchenette including all the essential equipment to prepare and cook meals, including; fridge, kettle, microwave, stovetop, toaster and kitchenware – there is even a dining table to eat from.
Onsite there are great family friendly amenities including an indoor heated pool, spa, sauna and gym. BBQ facilities so you can cook and eat outdoors. And a laundry to freshen up your travel clothes.
For Lake Taupo accommodation with the convenience of a kitchen, you can’t go past the Absolute Lake View Motel.
Click here to check current pricing or make a booking.
Lakefront Lodge Taupo is one of the best Lake Taupo hotels, located on the shores of Lake Taupo (where the swimming area is) and only a short 10-minute walk to the town’s shops and restaurants.
Family rooms can sleep up to 4 and include 2 rooms, with the main room including 1 double bed and living area, whilst the other room contains 2 single bed. Family rooms also include free WiFi, TV, bathroom, sitting area, tea and coffee making facilities and refrigerator.
Onsite you’ll find a restaurant open 7 days a week for breakfast and dinner – perfect for when the kids need an early night and you want to dine and dash. You’ll also find a swimming pool and spa, plus free parking.
Click here to check current pricing or make a booking.
The Courtney Motel is just a 1-minute walk to the shores of Lake Taupo and only a 10-minute walk to the town’s shops and restaurants. It is one of many cheap motels in Taupo.
Family rooms are 2-bedroom apartments with 1 double bed in 1 room and 2 singles in the other room. The apartments contain a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, lounge room and washing machine. If you’re looking to save some budget when you travel, having the kitchen and laundry as part of your accommodation allows you to do this.
There is a swimming pool in the apartment next door in which guests can swim in, there is also an outdoor BBQ area with seating to enjoy cooking and eating alfresco.
Click here to check current pricing or make a booking.
Hopefully you enjoyed our complete guide to Taupo with kids. It’s a brilliant place and well worth a visit while travelling around the North Island. If you’re interested in travelling to New Zealand we have some great guides on visiting Queenstown, the South Island and overall the best places to visit in New Zealand! Check them out!
Looking for more tips for visiting New Zealand’s North Island? Here are a few articles to help with your planning:
- Northland Road Trip by the World on My Necklace
- Hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing by We12travel
- North Island New Zealand Road Trip by Two Wandering Soles