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Our Taupo travel tips:

  • Taupo regionTaupo is about halfway between Auckland and Wellington, even if you're in a hurry this is one of the nicest lakes in New Zealand and an ideal stop on the way
  • Following Rotorua's example there are more and more adrenaline attractions on the menu, but Taupo has its own specialty: it is the largest tandem skydiving drop zone in the world!
  • Lake Taupo may only be at 356 metres altitude, but that's enough to make nights chillier than other places, however there's also lots of sunshine and the days feel wonderfully fresh

A great lake for adventure

Situated in the volcanic heart of the North Island, the Lake Taupo region is home to New Zealand's largest fresh water lake, fascinating geothermal areas and the famous Huka Falls. Australasia's largest lake's attractive pumice sand beaches give it the appearance of an inland ocean.

Visitors come for the scenery and action-packed adventure, which are accompanied by a genuinely friendly local culture. The lakeside community is alive with great places to eat, drink and party.

Trout fishing should be on your menu of things to do, because this region is one of the last true wild trout fisheries in the world. Local guides will soon get you hooked, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to cook your catch. Rainbow and brown trout were liberated in Lake Taupo more than 100 years ago. Open for fishing 12 months a year, the lake and its adjoining rivers represent one of the last true wild trout fisheries in the world.

Lake Taupo's geothermal attractions include geysers, steaming craters, boiling mud pools and some of the largest silica terraces in the world. Other special experiences include the walk to Huka Falls, a game of golf at Wairakei and kayaking to the Maori carvings at Mine Bay.

Over thousands of years, volcanic action has created a landscape of simmering craters, boiling mud pools, fumaroles and steam vents. Maori mythology is richly interwoven with the geothermal features of the region.

See here for hotels in the Taupo region.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Highlights of the Taupo region

  • Taupo tips - Taupo marina - New Zealand travel tipsTaupo: The relaxed lake resort lies on the same volcanic line as Tongariro in the south and Tarawera and White Island in the north, which explains why there is also a heap of geothermal activity to explore. There are thermal baths and not far away you can walk through 'The Craters of the Moon', a bizarre landscape of smoke and hot vents. The town has a little marina and an attractive waterfront from where you can enjoy the magnificent blue of the lake.
  • Huka Falls: Although these falls are only 11 metres high, they are the only outlet of a huge lake and the volume is phenomenal. Further down the Waikato River are there the Aratiatia Rapids, another film location for the Hobbit films.
  • Lake Taupo: New Zealanders make the most of this big (616 km2) and beautiful lake, all sorts of watersports are exercised, you can cruise or sail to artistic Maori rock carvings (dating from 1980), or rather famously, join the trout fishers for a stunning catch. The lake was actually formed by the most violent volcanic eruption in 5000 years, in the year 237, an event noted it in China and Rome. It completed an even bigger eruption 26,000 years ago!
  • Road to Turangi: There are some idyllic spots on the lake where you can have a break, such as Mission Bay and Motutere campground. Later watch out for some of the wild Kaimanawa horses who live in this region! Also in Turangi you can find steam vents and hot springs, just the right thing after a long journey. Take a look at the big fish of the National Trout Centre, south of Turangi.

The best Taupo walks

  • Taupo tips - Lake Taupo - New Zealand travel tipsHuka Falls Walkway - along the Waikato River to the Huka Falls (2 h), access from Spa Thermal Park, Taupo
  • Rangatira Point Walking Track zur Totara Bay, access from Acacia Bay Road, 2 kms to the boat ramp, Taupo
  • Waipahihi Botanical Reserve, access from Shepherd Rd, Taupo
  • Tokaanu Thermal Walk Turangi - geothermal attractions (20 min return), access from the Tokaanu Thermal Pools Complex, 6 kms from Turangi on State Highway 41
  • Tongariro River Loop Track (1 h return), access from Koura Street, Turangi
  • Pouakani Totara Tree - biggest Totara tree in New Zealand (40 min return), access from State Highway 30, west of Mangakino (50 min west of Taupo)

The best Taupo viewpoints

  • Aratiatia Rapids Viewpoint, Aratiatia Road and then Rapids Road, Taupo
  • Waikato River Lookout, Spa Road, Taupo
  • Mount Tauhara Trig (2 h one way, 500 m altitude difference), access from Mountain Road, State Highway 5
  • Forest Tower in Pureora Forest Park (20 min return), from the Bismarck Road car park

The best Taupo museums

  • Taupo Museum, Story Place, Taupo
  • Volcanic Activity Centre, Karetoto Road, Wairakei Park

Map of the Taupo region

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