Taupo, New Zealand

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Taupo Guide – Spend Less, Do More

Lake taupo sunsetYour trip to the Taupo region could look like this. The Volcanic Activity Centre gave you a taste for geothermal activity with earthquake simulators, live geyser models and tectonic plate jigsaw puzzles. So you decided to go further afield to see the real thing at Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. On the way back to your hotel in town, you stopped by Huka Falls to be blown away (though hopefully not literally) by the torrent of 220,000 litres of water rushing by every second. When you got back to your hotel, you wonder if you could have seen and done more on your trip for less.

It turns out, you can! And some of it is free!

Huka FallsWhy bother fighting your way through the crowds at Huka Falls to get that perfect selfie, when you can see the same thing at Aratiatia Power Station Rapids. The drive is worth it to see 90,000 litres of water rushing by per second when the spill gates from the dam are opened. The gates are then closed and the river returns to a quiet, calm stream. Make sure you visit the website and time your journey as this phenomenon only happens a few times a day.

If the natural beauty of the Aratiatia Rapids has inspired you, why not drive west out of Taupo's town centre to the small town of Kinloch. Kinloch Beach is virtually untouched by mainstream tourists and you'll be stunned by the sunset here at Lake Taupo. Make sure you take a photo to make all your friends back home jealous.

If you don't want to drive too far out of town, why not explore one of the many parks located in Taupo's town center. For a glimpse into the history of the region, Gascoigne Street Reserve has the cemetery where some of Taupo's early European settlers are buried. Riverside Park hosts Riverside Market every Saturday from 10am - 1pm where you can mingle with the locals and find fresh fruit and vegetables, authentic local art and crafts, fabulous coffee and much more.

After a bite to eat, stop by the iconic Tongariro playground with its futuristic feel which will entertain children of all ages for hours. If you're planning to visit in the summer be sure to check out the Taupo Summer Concert which brings some of the best international acts from around the world to the Taupo Amphitheatre in Riverside Park. Warning: this event is likely to sell out, so book in advance.

Pay for another round of museum entry fees…

Or spend more wisely on a full day's worth of entertainment for all ages at Mind Junction. It's free to enter and you can pick and choose the activities that you want. Race your friends to see who can find all the clues first in the Giant Maze. Challenge your friend to a round of Mini Golf on a course that feels like you're putting on a real green. Feed your inner child by visiting New Zealand's only permanent LEGO display. Or maybe you want to try your hand at soaring over some of the world's most famous cities in the Flight Simulator. Whatever you're into, you'll be sure to find it at Mind Junction so check the website for opening times and prices.

You got your hotel for a steal…

So it's time to treat yourself to an experience you'll never forget. Why not sail Lake Taupo aboard the restored 1920s yacht Barbary that is New Zealand's only commercial electric yacht. But this cruise comes with a difference – you can charter the yacht for a sunset movie cruise. Sit back and relax with your friends and family on the calm waters of Lake Taupo as you watch your favourite films.

If you have some spare time, why not take a road trip to visit the award-winning Hawke's Bay Wineries. The oldest wine region in New Zealand is famed for its full-bodied red wines and you'll be savouring the taste of a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon in no time. Visit the website for a map and information on the 72 wineries in the region.

Spend Less, Do More

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team

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