If you’re looking for a special place to base yourself for a couple of days visit the sleepy village of Kuratau on the edge of Lake Taupo. Its a place to relax, explore the Central Plateau, hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, fly-fish or play golf.
We’ve been going to this beautiful bay for over 20 years. For those of you who don’t know where it is, it’s on the opposite side of the lake from the main town, Taupo.
It’s accessed from State Highway 41 and is about 20 minutes from Turangi.
Unlike Taupo it’s un-commercial. There are no restaurants, bars or supermarkets. All you will find is a well stocked dairy and a petrol pump. When the population swells over the holiday period the dairy owners, Dave and Colleen open “Snappys”, their portable takeaway food truck.
Things to do
From Kuratau there are two good golf courses, Turangi (20 minutes drive) and Taumarunui (40 minutes drive).
Go and have some fun on the lake – it’s a huge playground.
The summer fishing in the lake is good and if you don’t have a boat there’s a charter company operating out of Kuratau. Ask Dave at the dairy.
The other alternative is to fly-fish the Tongariro River or at one of the many river mouths. There are plenty of great guides in the area, but my favourite is Andrew Christmas.
The Trout Centre is just a couple of minutes south of Turangi. It has is an exceptional educational facility with everything where you can learn everything about trout and their breeding habits. It’s a great place to hang out with the kids and have a picnic overlooking the Tongariro River. Look on their website for “kids fishing”. On special days they open their ponds so kids can experience catching a trout.
Rafting and Kayaking
For a bit of an adventure try white water rafting with Tongariro River Rafting. Garth Oakden is a great operator based just south of Turangi. They offer family rafting catering for young kids as well as more wild trips for those wanting to enjoy the real white water.
If kayaking is your thing or you would like to give it a go head to Tukino Street in Kuratau. One of the permanent locals hires kayaks and life jackets for a couple of hours or a few days.
Walkers are spoilt for choice with the popular Tongariro Crossing, one of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks. If the weather is fine the views of the Emerald Lakes are priceless, but be warned, the weather can turn in a moment. Good footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is essential.
As well as the Tongariro Crossing there are a number of great walks from Whakapapa including the Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids. Call into the Tongariro National Park Visitors Centre next to the Chateau Hotel. Right in Kuratau there are a number of great walking tracks, including the Pukawa to Omori Track – 1 hour 20 min and the Pukawa Bush Walk 45 min. Look out for the DOC signs.
To find accommodation, Book a Bach
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