Two Colombian tourists were robbed after their car was stopped just south of Turangi yesterday afternoon.
Detective Sergeant Andy Livingstone said the men had stopped on Atirau Road, near the Turangi Golf Course, as they were looking to book accommodation nearby.
As the men left, a red motor vehicle blocked their exit and three men jumped out and threatened them.
"[They] managed to then get in front of the tourists' vehicle and stop in a place where they couldn't get around them. [They] threatened them, demanding money."
The offenders took cash from the tourists, who were in New Zealand on a working holiday, as well as a cellphone and luggage.
The offenders are described as Māori, and two of of them have facial tattoos.
He said the tourists had been speaking to the three men before the incident.
Mr Livingstone said the tourists were "pretty shaken and upset", and would be supported by the police as they continued their travels.
He also said this kind of crime would have an effect on the community, which relied heavily on tourism.
"It is disappointing, Turangi is a very proud community, it is hub for a lot of tourism, people's livelihoods are intertwined with the tourism industry.
Anyone who has information is being asked to contact the Taupo police on 07 377 9331.