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Taupo Backpackers & Hostels

Lake Taupo is a enormous lake (about the size of Singapore) and is popular with fishermen, water-skiers, sailors and kayakers. Major towns in the region are Taupo and Turangi and the must do things in the area are to walk the Alpine Crossing in the Tongariro National Park and visit the Huka Falls, one of NZ’s most visited attractions.

Currently 22 hostels in this area

Filter by Location: View All , Taupo (6), Tongariro National Park (12), Turangi (4)

Brand New
Haka Lodge Taupo is a brand new, up-market backpacker's hostel in central Taupo. Our ethos places the guest experience at the heart of everything we do.
Backpacker luxury with FREE unlimited WiFi, hot spa pool, hotel quality linen, fantastic lake views & BBQ
Central location
There's plenty of reasons to stay at YHA Taupo! Sitting on the largest lake in New Zealand, you'll find the hostel halfway between Auckland and Wellington.
Free Wifi, fully equipped kitchen and laundry, Netflix, book exchange, free parking and outdoor BBQ area

Captured smack in the centre of the North Island, Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, formed in the caldera of the still active Taupo Volcano. The desolation and scarred landscapes rendered by the tempestuous geology has, in recent history, has helped the area rertain a strong Maori presence.

Early European settlers visited Taupo in the 1830s, but deemed it far too barren and hostile for agriculture or farming. Thus, many tribes remained unmolested by settler intrusion, and this heritage continues to this day with the many villages dotted around the perimeter of the lake. Original marae (Maori meeting grounds) can be visited at Waiteteko and Te Rangiita.

Rich and diverse in its geography, tourism eventually flourished in Taupo. Trout was introduced to the lake in the early 1900s, and the area drew fishermen from across the North Island. It now attracts visitors from all over the world, as famous for its jet boating near the Huka Falls as it is geothermal springs in the Valley of Orakei Korako.


Similar in layout and feel to Rotorua (and Queenstown), Taupo extends back from the lakefront with a relaxed, holiday atmosphere. Backpackers abound, and there are lodges situated from the waterfront, in the town centre, and on the outskirts at Rangatiara Park, heading up the Waikato River towards Huka Falls. In addition to the numerous hot springs spas, there are plenty of gardens to enjoy. Of particular note is Waipahihi Botanical Gardens. Their stunning collection of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas create a mellow and peaceful retreat, and all they ask for is a small donation. Take a lakeside walk from Two Mile Bay to Wharewaka Point, the head up to the Lake Taupo Scenic Lookout for the best picnic spot in town.

But Taupo isn’t just for those looking for a secluded idyll. With such a beautiful view awaiting you, Lake Taupo invites you to take to the skies for a skydive, with either Skydive Taupo or Taupo Tandem Skydiving. With the foreboding mountains of the Tongariro Park as a backdrop, this is one of the most stunning skydives in the world. If you prefer your adrenalin rushes a little closer to the ground, the narrow canyons on the Waikato river feature some of the most exhilirating rides in the country. Take a jet boat ride at the famous Huka Falls or, further up the Waikato, Rapids Jet at the Aratiatia Rapids.

Tongariro National Park

Famed for its claim to host the world’s best one day walk, the Tongariro National Park boasts a rare dual world heritage status, both recognising the outstanding natural features on display and also the spiritual and cultural values of the land. Such recognition can be considered recompense for the injustice inflicted by the British Crown when claiming the land from the Maori who inhabited it, with the Chiefs being imprisoned until they signed the surrender of the volcanic mountains Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

Today, despite the busy ski fields on Mt. Ruapehu (the only commercial slopes in the North Island), the 79,596 hectare national park is most famous for its 19.4km one day trek. An alpine crossing which takes in some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world, the Tongariro Crossing showcases all of New Zealand’s terrifying geology, from active volcanoes, thermal pools, jade-blue lakes, all enjoyed from the splendid mausoleum of solitude. It was no surprise, then, when Peter Jackson chose to commit the area to movie folklore in the Lord of the Rings, with Mt. Ngauruhoe doing a cameo of Mt. Doom. Further multi-day hikes are made more hospitable by the many DOC huts along the routes.

Many of the hostels and lodges serving Tongariro are based in the aptly named National Park Village on the outskirts of the park. The accommodation has an alpine lodge feel to it, influenced by the international skiing community who descend on the region in winter. For a more traditional, quieter setting, try any of the small towns on the perimeter of the national park – Ohakune, Rangataua, Horopito and Erua all offer a simple, secluded setting from which to enjoy the trails and scenery.


Another gateway town into the Tongariro National Park, Turangi enjoyed a tourism boom in the late 1800s when trout was introduced to nearby Lake Taupo, luring anglers from all over the North Island. Over the decades, Turangi has capitalised on this initial popularity, becoming not only a global gold standard for fishing but also a popular destination for hikers and campers looking to enjoy the outdoors.

The narrow canyons of the Tongariro River make it idea for white water rafting (compare the terrain here to the rafting up at Huka Falls north of Lake Taupo), and the Tongariro River Trail is a gentle counterpoint to the rigours of the Northern Circuit, a pleasant 15km trail to hike or bike. All of the accommodation in town features lots of open spaces and stunning views of the National Park in the distance, and there are plenty of riverside campsites to pitch at.


All Other Backpacker Hostels in This Area

LKNZ Lodge
1 Rata Street, Ohakune
+64 (0)6 385 9169
Howard's Lodge
11-13 Carroll Street, National Park Village
+64 (0)7 892 2827
Plateau Lodge
Carroll Street, National Park Village
+64 (0)7 892 2993
Rimu Park Lodge
27 Rimu Street, Ohakune
+64 (0)6 385 9023
Adventure Lodge & Motel
Carroll Street, National Park Village
0800 321 061
Silver Fern Lodge
Cnr Kaimanawa & Tamamutu Streets, Taupo
+64 (0)7 377 4929
Extreme Backpackers
26 Ngawaka Place, Turangi
+64 (0)7 386 8949
Lazy Dog Backpackers
3 Rangipoia Place, Turangi 3334
+64 (0)7 386 0317
Ski Haus
Cnr Carroll & McKenzie Streets, National Park Village
+64 (0)7 892 2854
Pukenui Lodge
1 Millar Street, Cnr State Highway 4, National Park Village
09 409 8837
Forest Lodge
Cnr Omaki & Ohorere Roads, Owhango
+64 (0)7 895 4773
Finn's Global Backpackers
8 Tuwharetoa Street, Taupo
+64 (0)7 377 0044
Rainbow Lodge
99 Titiraupenga Street, Taupo
+64 (0)7 378 5754
A Plus Lodge
41 Iwiheke Place, Turangi
+64 (0)7 386 8979
The Hobbit Motor Lodge
Cnr Goldfinch & Wye Streets, Ohakune
+64 (0)6 385 8248
Club Habitat Holiday Park & Backpackers
25 Ohuanga Road, Turangi
+64 (0)7 386 7492
Finlay Jack's Backpackers
20 Taniwha Street, Taupo
+64 (0)7 378 9292
Station Lodge
60 Thames Street, The Junction, Ohakune
+64 (0)6 385 8797
Alpine Motel & Backpackers
7 Miro Street, Ohakune
+64 (0)6 385 8758
National Park Backpackers
Finlay Street, National Park Village
+64 (0)7 892 2870