Paradise Tours (tel. 07/378-9955; www.paradisetours.co.nz) has a range of half-day excursions to local attractions from NZ$99 adults, NZ$45 for children 5 to 12, free for children 4 and under, plus full-day tours to Rotorua, Napier, and Waitomo. Their popular Taupo Sights tour includes a visit to the thermal wonders of Orakei Korako, Huka Falls, Honey Hive, Aratiatia Rapids, the marina, and the geothermal borefield. It’s a good way to see the best of Taupo if you’re short on time.
One of the best new tour options in the Taupo area is pureORAwalks (tel. 021/042-2722; www.pureorawalks.com), which has a range of excellent walks from 3 hours to 3 days in duration in Tongariro National Park, Pureora Forest Park, and Whirinaki Forest Park. They also take guided walks over the magnificent Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and all their walks are led by local Maori guides. If you’re short on time, their Nature-Culture Walk (3–6 hr.) is a good choice. It costs NZ$95 for adults and NZ$74 for children. Their 8-hour guided hike over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing costs NZ$315 for adults and NZ$210 for children, but you need to be very fit for this excursion and always take lots of warm clothing, even in midsummer.