Located in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Taupō and Ruapehu offer plenty of heart-pumping thrills, heart-warming vistas, and activities to calm the heart (oooh spa days). Whatever is near and dear to your heart, there’s an experience in Taupō and Ruapehu to suit.
To inspire you on why you need to put this AH-MAZING road trip at the top of your 2022 travel list, we’ve paired up with Tourism New Zealand to show you the wonderous experiences that are sure to capture your heart.
3-Day, 148km: Long Weekend Road Trip from Taupō to Ruapehu
Start day one of your Taupō to Ruapehu road trip with a fast-and-furious spin with Hukafalls Jet up the Waikato River. Huka Falls River Cruise offers the best views of New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.
A soak in Taupō’s world-famous geothermal pools is an #NZMustDo. Swim, soak, and enjoy a massage at the 5-star Taupō De Bretts. End the day with a local delicacy from one of the fabulous Taupō eateries.
Day two, enjoy sunrise and incredible views on the lake from a Doughnut boat. Next, wander the 80 murals on the Graffiato walking tour. Also, don’t forget to grab a selfie at the iconic #LOVETAUPŌ sign.
From here, it’s a 75-minute drive to Whakapapa Village, in the heart of Tongariro National Park. Walk or hike one of the extensive trails; some take you into the thick of the volcanic landscape of this UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site. Overnight at National Park Village.
Day three, the delights of NZ’s carrot capital await in Ohakune. A selfie at the 7.5-metre-tall carrot is a must, obvs! You’ll also want to head to the Waitonga Falls, cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road, or gorge yourself at Ohakune’s delicious eateries.
Can you please, please, have a world-famous Johnny Nation’s chocolate éclair for us?
7-Day, 320km: Taupō to Ruapehu
Day one, overnight in Kinloch, a 15-minute drive from Taupō and home to some of the best glamping and luxe boutique accommodation. Explore the Great Lake Trails on foot or by mountain bike: the W2K section passes the gorgeous Whakaipo Bay.
Day two, experience the gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest silica terraces in the world at Orakei Korako. It’s other-worldly.
Depart Taupō day four for Ohakune via Turangi, gateway to Tongariro National Park. Go trout fishing here or raft the white-water rapids, hike and bike.
Drive the Desert Road from Turangi to Waiouru, where the National Army Museum provides a roadside break. Continue on to the chill mountain town of Ohakune, access point to Mt Ruapehu’s popular Tūroa ski area.
For the afternoon, head up to National Park and Whakapapa Villages, where top-notch biking and tramping trails are abundant. If you prefer a more mellow experience, enjoy High Tea at Chateau Tongariro Hotel.
Lord of the Rings fans can scout for the area’s filming locations.
Your final road trip day is fun-filled around Taumarunui. Experience a rail cart journey with Forgotten World Adventures, visit the award-winning Bradley’s Gardens, get an Insta-fabulous picture at Lauren’s Lavender Farm, or cuddle a baby alpaca at Nevalea Alpacas.
Top Five Things to Do in Taupō and Ruapehu
- Geothermal bathing and activities: Taupō is home to an extraordinary range of geothermal activities, best experienced with a soak. There are not only restorative benefits, but medicinal ones, too.
- Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Māori rock carvings: One of New Zealand’s most impressive contemporary artworks, the giant Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings looms 14-metre-high above Lake Taupō and is only accessible by boat or kayak.
- Walking and hiking Tongariro National Park: Pack your best footwear for the range of walks and hikes in Tongariro National Park. Lake Rotopounamu is great for birdwatchers; Taranaki Falls gives you access to the dramatic volcanic landscape. Additionally, hike to the park’s highest falls.
- Ruapehu Adventures: Ruapehu is all kinds of fun. Take a Sky Waka Gondola Ride, a river cart or river tour with Forgotten World Adventures, or ski NZ’s largest ski area at Whakapapa. Bike the Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono Cycle Trail, paddle the Whanganui Journey, or discover dinosaur memorabilia at Raetihi’s Dinosaur House.
- Foodie Ruapehu: Taste an award-winning burger at Ohakune’s Blind Finch, dine on top of the world at the Chef’s Table, and indulge in high tea at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel. Stay tuned for Big Mountain Mead Brewery, opening later this year.
Look how easy it is to get centred in enchanting Taupō!
Ruapehu is a place of connection: to nature, to each other, and to yourself. Connect to this video and discover why.
Driving Taupō & Ruapehu
Being the heart of the North Island, reaching Taupō and Ruapehu is straightforward from anywhere. Roads are easy to navigate and present no real challenges to Australian drivers.
During the ski season, you can drive to Mt Ruapehu’s summit. Pay attention to the digital signs that display up-to-date road conditions, and be sure to add snow chains to your rental car booking.
Get the Road Trip Playlist
Music is an excellent gateway to a destination. Get carried away to Taupō and enjoy a mood-capturing sing-a-long to Ruapehu with this top 15 Spotify playlist.
Travel Advisor? Gain Access to the Marketing Hub Toolkit
Skip March madness; instead, choose to get inspired with the Tourism New Zealand Taupō and Ruapehu webinar on the 9th of March.
This is your chance to go deep on all things Taupō and Ruapehu in preparation for your clients’ return to our Kiwi neighbours’ shores.
You’ll also be in to win one of five regional gift baskets and – even better – one of five flights to New Zealand ready for that Trans-Tasman border re-opening date!
If you’re the type of travel nerd (those are the best kind, tbh) that likes to get your answers ready in advance, then head to the Tourism New Zealand Marketing Hub Toolkit to swot up early.
This article was brought to you by:
Share this story