Top things to do in Taupo with Kids

Love Taupo sign next to Lake Taupo

Things to Do in Taupo with Kids of all Ages

From to geothermal wonders to stunning lakes, Taupo is a ideal family destination.

Whether you are travelling with young children or older teens, Taupo has lots of experiences to make lifelong memories.

Here’s your family friendly guide to visiting Taupo including where to go and the best places to visit in Taupo with kids, including rainy day suggestions. 

Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and one of the best lakes in New Zealand. 

Taupo is centrally located in the North Island and is only a 3 hour drive from Auckland or a 4.5 hour drive from Wellington. The closest airport to Taupo is Taupo Airport which is a small airport with domestic flights from Auckland and Wellington and is 13km from the centre of Taupo.  

When is the best time to visit Taupo?

The best time to visit Taupo is in Summer (December to February in New Zealand) so you can enjoy all the watersport activities that Taupo has to offer. However, if you are keen to try flyfishing then Autumn is the best time to visit. And for the skiers and snowboarders then winter is the best time to visit as Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino are open for skiing at this time of year.

Get out on Lake Taupo

It’s your chance to do some water activities with kids. You can hire a Canoe & Kayak, paddleboard, jet ski or boat for your family to experience the vast lake.

If you are visiting in Summer you can go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Taupo too!

Admire Huka Falls

Huka Falls are free to visit and are only a 5 minute drive from Taupo’s town centre.  You will hear the Huka Falls before you see them.  

The stunning blue colour of the water at the bottom of the waterfalls is created by the clear water reflecting the blue light and the air bubbles in the water making the colour more intense. Huka means “foam” in Maori.  

The water flows quickly as the Waikato river is around 100 metres wide before the falls and then it suddenly narrows to 15 meters wide before the waterfall which is why is crashes with such a long sound as it lands. The Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction!

If you want to get up close to the bottom of the waterfall, then take the family on an exciting jetboat ride that goes on the Waikato river past the cliffs right up to the base of the thundering waterfall. The boat has fun 360-degree spins so children need to be at least 1 meter tall to go on the ride.  Huka Falls jetboat rides depart from the Waikato River near Taupo at Karetoto Road, Wairakei.

Huka Falls, Taupo

Make a splash at one of Taupo's thermal pools

There are plenty of options to take the kids for a swim in Taupo.

Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs is a family friendly, with its thermal mineral hot pools and hydro slides. 

The AC Baths & Thermal Hot Pools have lots of pools and two hydroslides.

Turangi Turtle Pools are a 40 minute drive from Taupo and have four heated pools including a toddler’s pool and an aquatic climbing wall. 

Tokaanu Thermal Pools are natural heated mineral pools and there is an outdoor heated children’s pool.

Taupo DeBretts Hot Pools
Taupo DeBretts Hot Pools and Hydroslides in Taupo, New Zealand

Bath in the warm Otumuheke Stream

Relax in the natural rock hot pools or under a waterfall in the Otumauheke Stream.  The water is a stunning deep green and of course it’s FREE so a perfect spot to visit lots of time during your holidays.

The natural hot pools of Otumuheke Stream are located in Spa Thermal Park in Taupo. 

Next to the Otumuheke Stream is the start of the Huka Trail which if you follow the banks of the Waikato River to the  Huka Falls takes a one hour walk each way. 

See the Taupo Maori Rock Carving

Head out on the scenic 1.5 hour Lake Taupo catamaran cruise on the catamaran to learn all about Lake Taupo and see the famous Maori rock carvings. 

The boat has two levels. Downstairs has large windows and an outdoor viewing area.

Maori Rock Carving Taupo
Famous Maori rock carvings in Taupo

Learn about bees at tHuka Honey Hive

Learn all about bees at Huka Honey Hive on their personalised and interactive honey tours. The kids love watching the live beehives. 

Huka Honey Hive is close to Huka Falls

Visit Taupo Museum, Art Gallery & Ora - Garden of Wellbeing

Discover the unique history, culture and stories of Taupo at this small local museum. Don’t miss the beautiful Ora – Garden of Wellbeing outside with it’s man-made silica terraces, sculptures and native plants is a special “living” exhibit at the museum. The garden  won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

If you are visiting in the school holidays they often have free holiday activities to entertain the kids too!

You can find Taupo Museum in the centre of town on Story Place next to the Rose Gardens.

Discover Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave

See the largest silica terraces in New Zealand at Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave in Taupo.

Kids will love seeing the active geysers, bubbling mud pools and the silica terraces. Orakei Korako is a 25 minute drive from Taupo and is located at 494 Orakeikorako Road, Taupo.

See the giant dam at Aratiatia Rapids

Watch the release of water from the Aratiatia Dam at 10am, 12pm and 2pm each day over the summer months flower through the gorge.

Aratiatia Rapids and Dam
Aratiatia Rapids and Dam

Admire the stunning glass sculpture gardens at Lava Glass

Discover the colourful glass art and glass sculptures in the gardens and grounds at Lava Glass. With over 600 sculptures there will be a few that each member of your family will like. Whether it’s the giant glass flowers, the rainbow arch or giant marbles this garden dosen’t disappoint.

Don’t miss the glass blowing show and workshop tour either where the kids can see how the artists make the glass and see glass blowing first hand. Even the teenagers will like it.  

You will find Lava Glass at 165 State Highway 5 in Wairakei, Taupo. There is a cafe on-site too.

Taupo Glass Flowers
Taupo Glass Flowers

Go Trout Fishing

Learn about freshwater Trout at Tongariro National Trout Centre. There is a special Kids Fishing Pond where the kids can go rainbow trout fishing in the school holidays. 

Plus there is a year round Family Package which includes all the equipment needed, licences, tuition and preparation of any fish caught. Adults receive instructions on how to cast from experienced anglers on the Tongariro river while the kids fish in the Kids Fishing Pond. 

Go bike riding

Take the family for a ride on the Great Lake Pathyway (Lion’s Walk) with stunning view out to Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and of course of Lake Taupo! It’s a relatively flat 10km ride which begins at the Taupo Boat Harbour goes along the lakefront and then past The Mile Bay boat ramp.

Play on the new playground at Tongariro Domain

In the Tongariro Domain is a fun playground for the kids with a giant stainless steel slide with climbing nets, mini tramps, swings, toddler playground and more fun.

Go Bungy Jumping with your tweens and teens

Take the teens bungy jumping from the cliff-top bungy that is 47 metres above the crystal clear waters of the Waikato River with A J Hackett’s Taupo Bungy. You can choose to be dunked or go dry.  Children must be at least 10 years old to go bungy jumping and weight at least 35kgs.

Or if leaping head first scares you then there is the Taupo Swing. This is a feet-first freefall 

Challenge the family to some games at the Mind Junction

Head out to the Mind Junction and take on the challenge of the 2m high Giant Maze, play mini golf, fly in the Flight Simulator or try the hands on interactive science experiences in the Discovery Centre. Mind Junction is on the Corner of SH 5 and Palmer Mill Road, Wairakei in Taupo.

Go rafting on the Tongariro River

Go on a family adventure with Tongariro River Rafting.  Enjoy just having you, the kids and a guide in one raft as you raft along the river on a Family Float.

Find all the street art in Taupo town centre

Street Art in Taupo

Check out the mosaic art at L'Arte

Stop in at the L’Arte Cafe and Gallery in Acacia Bay in Taupo. The kids will love exploring the gardens and seeing the mosaic sofas, unicorns and flying teapots.

Play Disc Golf with the kids

Visit the Spa Park Taupo Disc Golf Course to try your had a the Blue 9-hole course or Red 18-hole course of disc golf. You can find the course at 281 Spa Road in Taupo.

To play Disc Golf you through a Frisbee into a standing metal basket which has loose hanging chains to catch the disc from a desingated tee. The aim is to through it into the basket with as few throws as possible.