Taupo is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes – it’s the epitome of what you’d expect to see when you think of New Zealand. Natural hot springs, gourmet restaurants, local friendliness and an abundance of activities make it one of my favourite places for a quick getaway.

Located just three-and-a-half hours from Auckland or five hours from Wellington, Taupo is a favourite long weekender spot with North Islanders – here’s how to have an adventure-packed 48 hours in Taupo. And be sure to check out my Video Guide here.

Culture while you cruise: the Maori Rock Carvings

Lake Taupo is so large that you could fit Singapore into the size of it, so naturally there’s many types of water activities to choose from, but this activity is extra special. The Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay are only accessible by water, and a boat cruise is the best way to get there. Hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary artworks, they tower 14 metres above the deep water of Lake Taupo and are impressive to say the least. The carvings were created in the late ’70s by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Jonathan Randell as a gift to Taupo. Brightwell led a team of four artists to create this spectacular carving of his ancestor Ngatoroirangi on the rock face, spending four summers completing the work.