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Turangi is a year round outdoor destination. Whether you enjoy trout fishing, adventure activities, skiiing or snowboarding, hiking or bird watching you won't be disappointed.
One of the great things about the area is the number of activities, sights and attractions that will leave your wallet firmly in your back pocket. Check out the free activities on offer in the Great Lake Taupo region for inspiration.
Here is our list of 'Must Do's' in the Turangi & Tongariro areas.
- White water rafting - The Tongariro River is known for its spectacular scenery, with beautiful volcanic cliffs, crystal clear water and native bush. It is the perfect river for your first rafting experience. Bounce down the river with more than fifty rapids, which are generally grade three boulder gardens. Relax between the rapids and catch a glimpse of rainbow trout in the deep pools.
- Tokaanu Thermal Area - Enjoy an easy stoll around the Tokaanu thermal walk and witness the natural wonders of a geothermal area for free. Remember to stick to the track and closely supervise children. The adjacent thermal hot pools are great for a relaxing and therapeutic soak after a day exploring the region’s attractions.
- Scenic Short Walks – If you're wondering what to do in Turangi there are numerous scenic short walks to enjoy around the southern end of the lake. Walks along the Tongariro River, between Omori and Pukawa, up Maunganamu, at Whareroa and around Lake Rotopounamu allow you to enjoy the beauty of this unique region.
- Trout Fishing - Whether you’re into harling, trolling or fly-fishing, Turangi is the perfect base for anglers. With the lake and rivers on your doorstep, it is easy to get out and enjoy the year-round, naturally sustaining Taupo fishery. Specialised fishing shops and experienced local guides will also ensure you experience the best fishing the region has to offer.
- Mountain Biking - The natural areas around Turangi offer a number of opportunities for mountain bikers. From easy family trips along the Tongariro River Walkway to the backcountry rides and the tough 42nd Traverse, there is something to suit all skill levels.
- Climbing - If you’re looking for climbing opportunities, some challenging and unique opportunities are handy to Turangi, including those on Ruapehu, in the Mangatepopo Valley and at Whanganui Bay. Turangi even has its own world class indoor climbing wall, great for testing your skills no matter what the weather.
- Cultural Sites - Explore history at cultural sites close to Turangi, including the redoubt Te Porere, an ancient settlement at Opataka, and Rotoaira, home of the famous ‘haka’. Learn more about the culture of the region on an indigenously inspired guided walking encounter.
- Whakapapa Ski Area - Just 46km from Turangi, Mount Ruapehi is home to New Zealand's largest commercial ski resort, with two ski fields; Whakapapa and Turoa. During winter it offers a high quality range of facilities for both learners and experienced skiers and boarders alike. In summer, ride the chairlifts to New Zealand’s highest café or take a guided walk to Mount Ruapehu’s Crater.
- Scenic Flights - One of the best ways to see the stunning Central Plateau is from the air. Take a scenic flight from Turangi or Taupo and get a unique perspective of the mountains of Tongariro National Park, the Kaimanawa Ranges and beautiful Great Lake Taupo.
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Traversing a spectacular active volcanic zone, the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing offers a unique opportunity to experience some of Tongariro National Park’s special gifts. A cold mountain spring, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and magnificent views combine to make this an enjoyable and memorable trek.
- Tongariro National Trout Centre - Learn more about the Taupo fishery by visiting the Tongariro National Trout Centre and the Genesis Energy Freshwater Aquarium displaying New Zealand native and exotic fish. Displays explain the management of the Taupo fishery while a viewing chamber provides great underwater views of Rainbow Trout. Popular childrens' fishing days are held throughout the year and trout fishing in Turangi is a popular thing to do. Picnic areas are available.
- Volcanic Touring Loop - For an easier half day attraction take a drive from Turangi around the volanic loop. This journey takes in the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park and stunning views of its mountains - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
- Lookouts – Visit one of the lookouts offering expansive and magnificent views across Great Lake Taupo and the central North Island.
- The Great Lake - There is so much to do around picturesque southern Great Lake Taupo. Head out to one of the idyllic lakeside villages and picnic on the beach or visit the historic Tokaanu Wharf. Alternatively, get out on the lake by boat or kayak to explore the pristine, secluded Western Bays.
- Birdwatching – There is significant birdlife to be found in the Turangi area. Around the wetlands on the shores of Great Lake Taupo you can find Pukeko, Bitterns, Shags, a variety of Duck species, Pied Stilts and Banded Rail, to name just a few; and around the rivers you will find Whio (native Blue Duck), Kereru, Tui, Fantail and other forest birds.
- Department of Conservation Summer Programme - ‘Mahi Aroha,’ a summer programme held around the region. From learning how to catch a trout or fly a kite, to trekking up mountains and spotting kiwi at night, there’s something for everyone.