Ski and Soak Ruapehu and Taupō
The perfect combination of crisp mountain air, powdery snow, and soothing mineral waters! A week in the very heart of the central North Island will do wonders for the body, mind, and soul!
Check in for three nights’ accommodation at Taupō DeBretts. Choose from self-contained villas, apartments and studio style accommodation or make it an adventure for the kids at the popular Holiday Park accommodation with camping sites or a cabin stay. There are options for every budget, and family! Guests staying at the Holiday Park have discounted rates for Waterpark entry. Enjoy your evening relaxing in thermal mineral waters as the kids play in the warm water playground and have hours of fun riding the water slides.
Stay: Taupō DeBretts
Start your day with a scenic family bike ride. Collect your hire bikes or e-bikes from the team at Four B, grab a map, some recommendations and take to the trails that traverse the mighty Waikato River, known as the Huka Trails. An optional trailer is available for younger children!
If you plan to go as far as Aratiatia Rapids, make sure you time your ride to view the impressive dam release that takes place daily at 10.00am, 12.00pm and 2.00pm.
On the way back in to town, pop into the Huka Honey Hive for an ice-cream and learn about the fascinating world of the honeybee. View live beehives, take a tour and discover health and wellness products as well as the opportunity to taste a range of honey and mead products sourced from all over New Zealand.
Cruise along the shoreline of Lake Taupō in New Zealand’s only donut shaped boats! Hire a boat thanks to Doughboats Lake Taupō for an evening cruise, you can BYO drinks and food too – so why not order takeaways and plan a time to dine out for dinner with a view on the lake. The boats are electric, covered with open sides, have Bluetooth speakers and multicoloured lights onboard. The kids will love them!
Stay: Taupō DeBretts
Enjoy vast native bush, native birds and the intense colour of the sparkling waters as you thunder down the Waikato River on one of New Zealand’s amazing Kiwi inventions – the jetboat, with Rapids Jet. Be led through a landscape of towering cliffs, warm water streams and thundering rapids as you journey to a part of New Zealand made famous in several international movies, including The Hobbit and Yogi Bear. This 35-minute jetboat experience it sure to leave the kids smiling from ear to ear.
This afternoon, plan a visit New Zealand’s only prawn farm, located on the banks of the Waikato River. Huka Prawn Park farms a tropical freshwater river prawn while utilising the earth’s geothermal heat. This quirky tour introduces you to the surprisingly fascinating world of the prawn and concludes with the opportunity to fish for your own prawns, or to relax in their riverside restaurant and savour the delicacies delivered straight to your table. Kids will have a blast racing on the boating lake on stand-up paddleboards, water trikes or pedal boats.
Visit one of the delicious family-friendly eateries in Taupō town for dinner, or a simple fish and chip sunset dinner on the lakefront. Make sure you pop up to the Lake Terrace for a family photo with the #LOVETAUPO sign. The epic view out across Lake Taupō to the majestic mountains of the UNESCO dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park makes quite the backdrop!
Stay: Taupō DeBretts
Head to the new Baked with Love Eatery for a delicious brunch. All food is created onsite and sourced locally, where possible, to bring to you fresh and tasty dishes.
Later this morning, take the family to a geothermal wonderland that resembles an incredible lunar landscape. Craters of the Moon Thermal Walkway will have the family amazed as you wander past steaming craters, bubbling vents and spectacular coloured soils via boardwalk.
This afternoon, travel from Taupō to Whakapapa Village to explore the stunning Ruapehu region…
Check in to the timeless elegance of the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel, at the base of the road leading to Mt Ruapehu’s Whakapapa Ski Area. The glorious hotel was built in 1929 and now provides guests with comfortable accommodation and beautiful views within a short distance of a range of activities on land, snow and water.
Before dinner head out on the Tawhai Falls walk, an easy short walk close to the hotel suitable for everyone. The 15 minute walk takes you to an impressive waterfall, once used in the Lord of The Rings movie series.
Enjoy dinner at the casual dining Pihanga restaurant on site at the Chateau, catch a movie in the hotel’s cinema before turning in for the night.
Start your day off with a hearty buffet breakfast in the luxurious Ruapehu Room at the Chateau. Head up the mountain and hit the slopes, whether you’re a pro or keen for some lessons or snowball fights in Happy Valley, Whakapapa Ski Area is the place for you.
Take a break and have lunch at the Knoll Ridge Chalet – the highest café in New Zealand, accessed by the magnificent Sky Waka Gondola.
When you’re down off the hill and ready for dinner, grab a pizza in the relaxed ambience of the Tussock Bar and Restaurant across the road from your accommodation
Stay: Chateau Tongariro
One day on the slopes is never enough, after breakfast head back up to Whakapapa and ski, board or sled the day away. If not the mountain – then you are spoilt for choice for huge range of walks in the area for stretching out the legs after a day on the slopes.
After you’ve finished up the mountain for the day head towards Ohakune, a 45 minute drive away. Stop off in National Park Village for a cold drink and a round of mini golf with the kids en route.
Head for the Powderhorn Chateau Hotel to check in for your next couple of nights’ accommodation, a warm and welcoming hotel with a cozy alpine feel. Don’t forget your togs for a dip in the indoor heated swimming pool.
Your dinner options tonight are vast, either eat in at the hotel’s famous “Keg” or explore one of the many superb restaurants in town.
Stay: Powderhorn Chateau Ohakune
Enjoy a big breakfast at the hotel, you’re going to need the energy!
Today you’ll head West to discover the Whanganui River in the surrounds of the mystical Whanganui National Park. Head to Pīpīriki and take a half day tour to the Bridge to Nowhere. After a jet boat safari up the river you will arrive at the significant Mangapurua Landing which starts your short walk into the Bridge to Nowhere. From here your local guide will help put in perspective the rich history of the area as you enjoy your lunch on the bridge, before returning to the jet boat to make your way back down the river to Pīpīriki.
Drive back to Ohakune and chill out, while you choose where you’re going to eat tonight!
Stay: Powderhorn Chateau Ohakune
Take some time after breakfast to explore the Tongariro National Park, with the Mangawhero Forest Walk accessed just a short walk from your hotel.
Check out the shops and eateries around Ohakune, hang out in the famous carrot park and make the 10 minute trip to historic Raetihi to visit the Dinosaur House, art galleries and gift stores.
On your way out of town if you’re heading South stop in at the National Army Museum in Waiouru. If you’re going North, stop by Smash Palace at Horopito to see the uncanny collection of old vehicles – the site of several NZ made films.
Safe travels home, we’ll see you next time in Our Greater Outdoors.
Chat to a friendly team member at the Ohakune i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for local information, suggestions, booking advice and support on free phone: 0800 647 483.