With a backdrop of mountains, lakes and forests you can expect some great short and long walks in Great Lake Taupo. Further out of town tracks and trails go through diverse areas of remarkable beauty; alpine terrain, lake and river trails, geothermal wonderlands and areas of significant historic importance.
Great Lake Walkway (10mins to 3 hours)
The Great Lake Walkway begins at the Lake Taupo Yacht Club and follows the path beside Lake Terrace and along the lake edge all the way to 5 Mile Bay. The walkway is fully paved to Wharewaka Point, with a short section of unsealed track before returning to a sealed path. Ideal picnic and swimming spots can be found along the way. There are toilet facilities in all the bays and a children’s playground and barbeque facility at Wharewaka Point. This track is suitable for pushchairs and bikes, and dogs are permitted.
Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls (2 hours return)
From the car park, follow the signs towards the Waikato River. Near the start of the track a bridge crosses a natural hot stream. From here the well-defined track winds along the riverbank, offering lovely views along the way. The walk finishes at the spectacular Huka Falls. A pleasant walk for the whole family; this walk can be linked with the Aratiatia Rapids Walk, which continues along the river to the Aratiatia hydro dam and rapids. This is an additional 4 hour return walk. There are car park areas at Spa Park, Huka Falls and the Aratiatia Dam. Dogs are permitted on this track.
Mt Tauhara (2.5 hours return via the same track)
The trail to the top of Mt Tauhara is a popular climb with locals and visitors. This 2.5km trail climbs to the summit at 1,088 metres, offering panoramic views over Lake Taupo and the central North Island. It is challenging and steep in places, so be prepared by wearing sturdy footwear and taking plenty of water, snacks and warm clothing as there is often a cool wind at the summit. Mount Tauhara is a culturally significant landmark for local Maori. Walkers are asked to keep to the track and respect the environment.
Lake Rotopounamu (2 hour loop track)
Nestled on the side of Mt Pihanga, Lake Rotopounamu (‘green- stone lake’) is a special favourite of tree lovers and birdwatchers. The track begins with an uphill walk then flattens out to circle the lake. There are numerous picnic and rest spots, with toilet facilities available on the main beach area. The lake is suitable for swimming in. This beautiful lake and forest is part of the Tongariro National Park and World Heritage Area.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing (7 hours minimum)
Trek 19.4kms across active volcanoes featuring spectacular and unique terrain including old lava flows, active volcanic craters and thermal steam vents, brilliant emerald and blue lakes, and beautiful native forest. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an active alpine environment with very changeable weather conditions. In winter we highly recommend you hike with a guide.
If you are an experienced alpine hiker, you can complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on a clear winter’s day. For your safety you should be accompanied by an experienced guide who can can safely assess Mt Ruapehu weather and the best route to be taken to avoid risks of avalanche and ice danger and provide appropriate equipment. Find out more about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing here.
More walks and hikes in Great Lake Taupo
There are heaps of other awesome walks in the region.