Hotels in Turangi (North Island, New Zealand)

  1. $80 per night
    Expected price for:Apr 2024
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Hotels in Turangi

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Turangi, New Zealand: Outdoor adventures on the North Island

Proudly known as the “trout fishing capital of New Zealand,” Turangi is a small town on the banks of the Tongariro River, a spectacularly scenic waterway which is also the largest spawning river in the Great Lake Taupo region. However, fishing is not the only sport in town; the Tongariro River is also famous for its white water, and Turangi is the perfect base for day hikes into Tongariro National Park, a cultural and natural World Heritage Site with three active volcanoes. Accommodations in Turangi range from modest motels and holiday parks to luxurious, yet laid-back, resort hotels and lodges.

Four seasons of fabulous fishing

Trout fishing in the Tongariro River is at its prime May through October, when the main spawning runs take place. During this very popular winter season, most anglers fish in the pools or “lies” of the river’s middle reaches. The river banks can become crowded here, especially just after a heavy rain. However, anglers who prefer a quieter atmosphere can head to the Tongariro’s lower reaches, or try raft fishing in its wildly beautiful upper reaches. Turangi’s knowledgeable guides can take visitors to the more “secret” spots as well. Though excellent fishing can be had here year-round, the crowds begin to thin with warmer weather, as many follow the fish to Lake Taupo. The largest lake in New Zealand, only four kilometres from Turangi, stunning Lake Taupo is synonymous with summer fishing trips, as its still waters offer excellent fly fishing in the day and evening. However, travellers hoping to reel in a trophy have their best odds in autumn, when the remaining fish are at their biggest.

White water, thermal pools, and a big splash

Fishing is just one of many ways to enjoy the beautiful bodies of water in and around Turangi. Nearby Lake Taupo offers jet boating, sailing, and scenic cruises, while the Tongariro River offers some of New Zealand’s best grade two white water rapids; adventurers as young as three years old can safely raft them year-round. At the other end of the spectrum lies the fierce Wairoa River; with names such as “Devil’s Elbow” and “Mother’s Nightmare,” its thundering grade five rapids thrill even the boldest rafters. Holiday makers who prefer hot water over white also have their choice here; the Tokaanu Thermal Pools, a six-minute drive from Turangi, offer relaxing, private mineral pools and a heated freshwater outdoor pool. Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs, about 40 minutes from Turangi, is beloved by families for its warm water playground and giant hydroslide, while the Wairakei Terraces Hot Pools offer a quieter, adults-only atmosphere. And no trip to Turangi is quite complete without a leap from the cliffs at Bulli Point.

Go take a hike…

Though there are many stunning walks in and around Turangi, the Tongariro River Trail is one of the most popular among walkers and bikers alike. The loop takes about three and a half hours to walk, with awe-inspiring views of the Tongariro River, Lake Taupo, and Mount Pihanga along the way. Another exceptional walk, just ten minutes from Turangi, is a two-hour loop leading to a stunning, sandy beach at Lake Rotopounamu, locally famous for its lovely green waters. Turangi is also the ideal base for visiting Tongariro National Park, which offers many day hikes as well as much longer tramping tracks. Its most celebrated day trip, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, runs for just over 19 kilometres, taking travellers up the slopes of all three active volcanoes, and fascinating them with geothermal steam vents, lava flows, and magnificent, panoramic views of the park. Enthusiastic hikers can also follow an expert guide to the summit of Mount Ruapehu, which is affectionately known to Lord of the Rings fans as Mordor.

Fly through the air with the greatest of skis

Come winter, a cosy lodge or hotel in Turangi makes an excellent base for a ski vacation, as the town is about 40 minutes from Mount Ruapehu’s Whakapapa ski area. Equally beloved by beginners and accomplished skiers, Whakapapa is home to Happy Valley, an extensive learner’s area that is comfortingly insulated from the rest of the resort, as well as a challenging mix of bumps, drops, chutes, and bowls suited to intermediate skiers. Experts come for its 25 black and black diamond runs, as well as its superb backcountry skiing; the southwestern side of the mountain is particularly attractive to adrenalin junkies, offering an impressive 772m of vertical descent. Travellers who fancy flying through the air without skis can also enjoy some of the best sky-diving in New Zealand. Though the adventure is available all year, winter thrill seekers will be treated to the sight of snowy mountain tops from as high as 15,000 feet before plummeting toward the sparkling waters of Lake Taupo.