Just minutes from the busy tourist township of Taupo are the picture perfect bays of north east Lake Taupo. With breathtaking lake and mountain views, idyllic picnic and swimming spots, grassy reserves and sandy beaches, these bays are all linked by the Great Lake Walkway also know as the Lion’s Walk.
This romantic and picturesque lake-edge walkway and cycling track starts at Taupo Township, skirts the lake edge to Two-Mile Bay, round Wharewaka Point at Four Mile Bay, finishing at Five Mile Bay. Along the way, you’ll pass through Three Mile Bay, and Rainbow Point.
Let’s follow the Great Lake Walkway and on the way, introduce you to the best bays of north east Lake Taupo.
Two Mile Bay
Our first stop on our way to 2 Mile Bay is Hot Water Beach. Created by warm springs heating the sand at the lake edge, kids and adults alike, love digging their toes into the sand to feel the warmth underneath.
Nearby lies Two Mile Bay. With wonderful, uninterrupted views across the lake to Acacia Bay and out to the mountains of Tongariro National Park, a lovely sandy beach that’s great for picnics and swimming and boat launching facilities, Two-Mile Bay is perfect for a family holiday.
The 2 Mile Bay Sailing and Watersports Centre is the only facility of its kind on Lake Taupo. Here you can sail a variety of vessels including one of eight mini America’s Cup Yachts. You can also learn to wakeboard, water-ski, kayak, canoe and windsurf. Catering for everyone from beginners to experienced riders and boaties, 2-Mile Bay Sailing Centre has everything you need to fully enjoy the crystal clear waters of Lake Taupo.
Our next stop is Rainbow Point. This popular holiday spot is just 5 minutes drive from Taupo Township but oh so quiet. You’ll really enjoy the best of both worlds’ here; close to the buzz of Taupo but with that magical presence of a peaceful lakefront settlement.
Like all the north east bays, Rainbow Point has wonderful lake and mountain views, scenic reserves, sandy beaches and loads of great picnic spots. It’s also just a two minute walk to the local fish and chip shop so you can enjoy that favourite kiwi past-time; a meal of takeaway fish and chips on the beach.
Three Mile Bay
As we continue along the walkway, our next destination is Three-Mile Bay. At Three-Mile Bay, the views are protected by height restrictions so most holiday homes in this area have unimpeded lake and mountain views.
With scenic reserves and lovely beaches, Three-Mile Bay is most famous as the finishing line for the annual Across the Lake Swim. This popular 4.2 km swim from Acacia Bay to Three Mile Bay comes with fantastic bragging rights. After all, how many people can say they swam across a lake, especially one as large as Lake Taupo?
Wharewaka Point, Four Mile Bay
With sun-drenched slopes and commanding views of the lake and mountains, Wharewaka Point at Four-Mile Bay is one of Taupo’s premier waterfront suburbs. Enhanced by an exclusive subdivision layout and planting design, Wharewaka Point has many modern holiday homes.
Popular in summer with both locals and tourist for its fresh, clear swimming beach, children’s playground and barbecue area, Wharewaka is only minutes away from several boat ramps and some of the best fly-fishing on offer at the mouth of the Waitahanui Stream.
Five Mile Bay
The walkway now heads along a terrace above the lake and down into Five-Mile Bay. This is home to a popular swimming, water skiing and windsuring beach and has lots of grassy areas and lovely picnic spots. To the south of Five-Mile Bay lies the famous “picket fence” at the mouth of the Waitahanui Stream.
This area is one of the most photographed fly fishing spots in Taupo, even possibly in New Zealand. The ‘picket fence’ is where anglers stand shoulder to shoulder casting out into the rip and current caused by the stream flowing into the lake.
Due to the popularity of this fishing spot and the nature of the current, the mouth of the Waitahanui Stream best suits experienced anglers. The ‘picket fence’ fishes throughout the year with the early morning and late evening being the best times of the day.