Most big cities make it onto a travel itinerary because they’re an attraction within themselves. But, taking the time to explore smaller towns can bring some of the best times on any travel adventure.

Let’s go with Taupo, New Zealand’s North Island gem. Come have a read of why you should visit Taupo and why it should be on your New Zealand bucket list.

1. There’s unreal nature here

Taupo is surrounded by a diverse range of beautiful landscapes. From towering mountains with snowy peaks, to crystal lakes and dense forests, Taupo knows how to deliver the scenic goods.

Make time to complete one of the world’s best one-day hikes at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Embrace your inner Frodo and trek through Mordor (yep, Lord of the Rings fans, this place inspired the scenery for the movies).

Check out the lakeside paradise around Lake Taupo. This crystal lake is surrounded by hills that are covered in colourful flowers during spring time. Stay for sunset and you’re onto a winner.

For the hikers out there, the trek up Mount Tauhara offers beautiful views over the countryside, Lake Taupo and even as far as the Tongariro National Park on a clear day. Keep an eye out for skydivers floating down during their final seconds in the sky 😍

2. There’s so much to do

Driving through the town, you’ll see people kayaking, fishing, walking, sailing, water-skiing and playing golf. There’s loads of restaurants bordering the lake as well as shops too.

Why not hop on a yacht and see the lake from a new perspective? Some go for around two hours, visiting the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings.

Taupo is also home to the impressive Huka Falls. Water from the Waikoto River is pushed into a 15m wide channel creating the powerful rapids. From a bridge perched above the powerful current, watch (and listen to) the turquoise water tumble down.

Another short walk down to the left of the bridge leads to other viewing spots to enjoy this natural wonder.

3. It’s in a great location

Taupo New Zealand Topdeck visit taupo

Long drives can leave explorers feeling shattered. And the drive between Auckland and Wellington is actually pretty far.

But, there are a handful of smaller towns tucked between these hubs that are great stopovers, including Taupo.

Taupo is around midway between the cities and is also quite close to the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

More than just a pit stop for a coffee and bathroom break, you’ll probably end up staying in Taupo much longer than you first expected.

Convinced to visit Taupo?

Check out our trips to New Zealand and browse ones that travel through the North Island.

Nicholas Hastie
Nicholas is a travel and health writer based in Brisbane. He’s driven by his hunger for all things travel, and enjoys documenting his journeys through writing and photography. Nicholas loves inspiring others to experience new adventures and create unforgettable memories.