The Thermal Explorer Highway takes people arriving by road past some great attractions of the area, but visitors can also travel to Lake Taupo by air or by rail.  

By Road

Lake Taupo is highly accessible as its on State Highway 1, which links Auckland and Wellington. 

Approx drive time and distances to other areas:




Approx Drive Time

Taupo to Tuarangi



1 hour

Taupo to Hamilton



2 hours 10 mins

Taupo to Napier



2 hours 30 mins

Taupo to Auckland



4 hours 5 mins

Taupo to Wellington



5 hours 10 mins

Taumarunui to Auckland



4 hours 45 mins

Taumarunui to Wellington



5 hours 15 mins


Your clients can get around the North Island by coach with InterCity Coachlines or a number of other suppliers. 

Driving Routes
The Thermal Explorer Highway is another option for clients to get from Auckland to Taupo and onto Hawke's Bay.  It also takes clients past the Huka Falls, Mount Ruapehu and Rotorua.  The Wairakei Park Tourist Drive also takes in many attractions such as the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids.

The Western Bays Highway circles the lake on the western side, whereas the Volcanic Loop circles Tongariro National Park from Turangi, offering amazing views of the volcanoes.

By Air
Taupo airport offers daily domestic flights only.

Airlines flying into Taupo include:
Air New Zealand
Mountain Air

Approx flying time to other cities:


Approx Flying Time

Taupo to Auckland

55 mins

Taupo to Wellington

1 hour

Taupo to Christchurch (via Wellington)

2 hours 15 mins – 2 hours 50 mins


Getting to and from the airport
Taupo airport is approximately 10 minutes drive from the town centre.

Clients can get a taxi to the town centre for approximately $15-20 or a shuttle bus for approximately $15 for the first person and $3 for each person thereafter.

By Rail
The Northern Explorer rail service goes through Tongariro National Park offering great views of the volcanoes and surrounding area.  It runs from Auckland through to Wellington.

Getting Around Lake Taupo
Getting around the town centres is easy by foot, however hire cars are also available.  Several tours and transport options are available to key attractions, such as a bus service between Taupo and Turangi, a minibus between Taupo and attractions and operators who will drop your clients off at the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing one day hike.