We’ve given you the rundown of how to get the best of a family holiday to Rotorua, but its neighbour to the South has plenty of its own to keep the family entertained. Taupo is obviously best knowing for its gigantic water feature appropriately named Lake Taupo, but there’s plenty else to do outside of admire the shimmering water on a sunny day. Here’s a few of the best ways to fill in a day, or just a few hours, in the friendly central town.
A quick but fun little experience, the Aratiatia Rapids are a natural attraction that make for a great watch. The release of the Aratiatia Dam (10am, 12pm and 2pm in the winter months) creates a thrilling rush of water flowing into the Waikato River, resulting in some fantastic crashing rapids which can be enjoyed from three different vantage points. It’s 100% free to watch and a great little activity to slot into your day if you’ve got a spare half an hour in the morning or early afternoon to full. PSA: This isn’t a swimming area. Let me repeat, DO NOT GO SWIMMING IN THIS AREA (sorry about that, just ensuring I’m not liable for any of our readers getting swept up in a raging rapid while on holiday).
Craters of the Moon
While it avoids carrying the famous pungent odour that Rotorua possesses, Taupo shares with it some awesome geothermal features that are well worth exploring. The Craters of the Moon geothermal walk is a fascinating stroll through a park filled with deep steaming craters (the largest crater in the park almost looks like an alien-crashing landing site). The walk isn’t too long (probably about an hour depending on how often you stop to admire and take pictures) so you shouldn’t have worry about the young ones getting antsy, and at only $8 for adults and $4 for children, this is a super easy and cheap activity that is unique to this area of the country.
Another quite unique experience although this one of a manmade kind, Lava Glass is an art gallery which displays over 600 art features and sculptures, created through the fascinating process of glass blowing. Instead of me poorly explaining to you how glass blowing works, the gallery contains a studio which offers an in-person demonstration of how the incredible works are created by the masterful artists. It sets you back only $50 total (for a family of up to 6 members) to get access to the entire park as well as entry into the glass blowing studio and the kids will no doubt be mesmerized by the almost magic-like quality of the glass blowing.
Huka Falls Jet
We’ve covered a lot of nice walks and sights, but if you’re the kind of family that’s looking for something a bit more high-tempo, the Huka Falls Jet is a great way to get a dose of some high-adrenaline action, without having to strap your 10-year-old to a bungy cord. The jet boat ride whips riders around on the Waikato River and passes by the base of the fantastic Huka Falls waterfall (which is great to look at from dry land as well, by the way) at terrific speeds of up to 80km per hour. The jet is a bit pricier than the rest of these activities at $299 for a family pass (2 adults, 2 children), but it’s an absolute blast and well worth the money if you’re looking to do something a bit ‘out there’ and adventurous while on holiday.