Taihape is a small service town on State Highway 1 that bills itself as the “gumboot capital of New Zealand” – but then you already knew that. Or maybe not, but it’s kind of hard to miss the enormous gumboot statue on the north side of town. Each year in October, Taihape holds a Gumboot Day festival, with events like gumboot throwing and gumboot races.
Taihape has a small main street with shopping and a few restaurants and cafés. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Mount Ruapehu, making it a potential base for skiing.