But now the secret is out and travelers are discovering what the locals have always known; Turangi is a natural paradise with hunting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, bush walks, white water rafting, kayaking, golfing, horse riding and skiing right at its doorstep.
Just four hours drive from either Auckland or Wellington and only 40 minutes from Taupo, Turangi is located at the southern side of Lake Taupo alongside the mighty Tongariro River and is known as 'The Trout Fishing Capital of the World'.
Anglers from all over the world come here to the 'Holy Grail' of fly fishing to do battle with the large rainbow trout that run aplenty in the river and its many pools.
During fly fishing season, it's common to see film stars, business leaders and world politicians rubbing shoulders with locals and visitors alike, in the search for that elusive 'big fish' or regaling each other with stories about 'the one that got away'.
You can learn the art of fly fishing at Riverway General Store and Outfitters.
This Tongariro River landmark has been part of the local landscape for the past 50 years and is the place to head to for the inside knowledge on how the pools are fishing.
With a tackle shop, fishing guides, fishing school and some of the best expresso coffee in Turangi, Riverway exemplifies all that is wonderful about fly fishing in this region.
The fishing doesn't stop there with Lake Taupo offering some of the best experiences in lake fishing.
There's a wonderful welcome for all from Adam of AJ Charters aboard his 38 foot catamaran 'Daydream'.
You'll visit some of the idyllic bays and fishing spots this side of Lake Taupo; Tokaanu, Waihi, Pukawa, Omori, Kuratau and Stump Bay.
All forms of lake fishing are catered for including harling, trolling and jigging and Adam will clean and bag your catch so all you have to do is cook it.
You can also take the kids fishing at the Tongariro National Trout Centre.
A wild trout fishery experience and education facility, here you can learn about everything to do with trout, fishing and New Zealand's freshwater ecology.
The centre also holds special children's fishing days where kids can catch a trout which is then weighed, measured and presented to them with a certificate to take home.
They can also get their fish filleted and smoked on site.
Where there's a river, there are rapids and Turangi is just about as famous for its white water rafting as its fishing.
Garth of Tongariro River Rafting has been a rafting guide on the Tongariro since 1987 and knows the river like no-one else.
From gentle river floats for first-time rafters and kids to wickedly wild and wet roller coaster rides, this is an experience that you'll remember for years to come.
Turangi, Tongariro and Southern Lake Taupo have some of the best mountain biking in New Zealand.
With single track crisscrossing much of the region, through ancient beech forests, around the lake, beside and through rivers, past volcanoes and across mountainous terrain, there's something here for the beginner, weekend warrior and trailblazing serious rider.
Hire a bike from Tongariro River Rafting and freedom ride or take one of their guided rides.
They will also give you a shuttle ride to your choice of MTB trail and pick you up when you're finished.
Rated as the best one day trek in New Zealand and listed by many in the top 10 day treks in the world, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an 18.
5 kilometre, full day traverse of the spectacular volcanic terrain of Mt Tongariro.
Along the way, you'll see steaming vents and hot springs, old lava flows, craters and lakes and on a clear day, stunning views of Mt Taranaki, Mt Ngaruhoe and Lake Taupo.
If a full day hike doesn't appeal, then don't worry as the area is covered in beautiful walks.
The Tongariro River Loop and Tongariro River Walkway are two picturesque walks that take an hour and 3 hours respectively.
A nice easy walk for all to enjoy is the Tokaanu thermal walk.
This 20 - 30 minute walk takes you through a natural thermal area with steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud pools surrounded by native bush.
A visit to Tokaanu is not complete without a soak in the Tokaanu Thermal Pools.
These pools have been a very welcome way to rejuvenate for centuries and still delight young and old with their warm soothing, therapeutic water.
Spending time in the great outdoors is a sure way to work up an appetite and Turangi caters for everyone's taste buds.
The great New Zealand pie is a kiwi cuisine classic and Turangi Bakery has some of the nicest pies you can ever have.
Ask for a steak and bacon pie, that's if they haven't sold out, as these pies are so popular, they run out the door.
Red Crater Cafe and Mustard Seed Cafe are local haunts, popular for their laid back, relaxed atmosphere and delicious meals.
The list of things to do in Turangi doesn't stop here.
For those who enjoy the indoors, there's an indoor climbing wall, indoor swimming pool and two art galleries.
Or you can enjoy a round or two of golf (or mini golf with the kids).
So the secret is out.
Turangi; no longer the bridesmaid but now centre stage as the blushing bride.