Riverside Park Taupo

Riverside Park is located within the Tongariro Domain on the banks of the Waikato River.

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Riverside Park 

Riverside Park officially opened in November 2007 on the site of the former Taupo Motor Camp, which closed in 2006 after the lease expired. Public opinion was divided when the camping ground closed, as it had been a popular camping site since the 1930s. Today Riverside Park is popular with locals and visitors.

The park has plenty of seating, tables and green space for picnicking and relaxing. There are a mature beech trees in the park that were donated from former mayor Clayton Stent’s own property.

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Riverside Park

There is a large boardwalk that runs alongside the Waikato River. The boardwalk turns into a concrete pathway, which makes for a nice short walk. Visitors can exit the park and cross the road by Control Gate Bridge and continue along the banks of the Waikato River to Spa Thermal Park or walk along Tongariro Street to the main shopping district.

Boardwalk, Riverside Park

Boardwalk, Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

In the park carved into three stones are words from the poems ‘Waikato River’, ‘A Preference for River’ and ‘My Poems’, from Rowley Habib’s poetry collection The Raw Men – Selected Poems 1954 – 2004. Habib’s mother was of Ngati Ruingarangi hapu, a sub tribe of local iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa and Habib grew up in Taupo and attended Taupo Public School.

Poetry from Rowley Habib

Poetry from Rowley Habib

The Unison Amphitheatre is grassed amphitheatre that provides seating for up to 15,000 people and is used for outdoor concerts and events during the summer months.

Also held every Saturday from 10am to 1pm is the Riverside Market, which has various stalls selling produce, breads, crafts, art, clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and more.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Tongariro Domain

Tongariro Domain (Tongariro South Domain and Tongariro North Domain) is a park located between Lake Taupo, the Waikato River and Taupo’s business district.

A large trout sculpture proudly stands on the Tongariro Street and Ferry Street corner of the South Domain. The sculpture was erected in 1999 to replace a previous trout sculpture built in 1985 for the Dawn Walker Trout Fishing Tournament.

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Trout sculpture

The South Domain is excellent park for families with plenty of green lawn space for picnics, sculpture and flower gardens, a children’s playground and an outdoor chess board. One of the main attractions is the Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express, a monorail train that runs through the park. This train began operating in 1993. Tickets are $2.00 per person for 3 circuits.

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Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express

Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express

The North Domain is outdoor green space that is used for outdoor exhibitions and special events, such as the Christmas Carnival and Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

At the end of the North Domain is the old courthouse building. This building, which was built in 1881, is the oldest surviving wooden building in Taupo. The building was originally used as a theatre and meeting hall. It was later converted into a magistrate’s court. The building is now managed by the Historic Places Trust and currently used as a childcare centre.

Old Taupo Courthouse

Old Taupo Courthouse

Nearby is the sail and viewing platform, which looks out over the Taupo Boat Harbour and Waikato River.

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Sail and viewing platform

Between the South and North Domain is the Taupo Police Station, Taupo District Court, The Great Lake Centre, Taupo Library and Taupo i-SITE Visitor Centre. The Great Lake Centre is a theatre and exhibition complex that opened in 1992 to replace the Taupo Nui A Tia Memorial Hall, which was built in 1953.

The Taupo i-SITE Visitor Centre is a good place for new visitors to the area. The I-SITE is open every day (except Christmas Day and Anzac morning) from 8.30am until 5.00pm.