Taupō was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you'll see evidence of the lake's fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Taupō's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.
Just north of Taupō you'll find New Zealand's most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
Taupō is a great lake for water-skiing, sailing and kayaking. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion. The forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking to suit all levels of experience.
But what Taupō is really known for is fishing. The town of Turangi has the largest natural trout fishery in the world; this is the place to cast a line and look for the big one. Turangi also happens to provide a convenient base for exploring Tongariro National Park, whether it be walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (New Zealand's most popular day walk) or skiing at Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields.
Taupō is centrally located in the middle of the North Island, approximately 3 1/2 hours drive from Auckland and 4 1/2 hours drive from Wellington. There's a genuinely friendly culture here and plenty of accommodation – so why not stay awhile?
Some of The Many Attractions
Orakei Korako Caves & Thermal Park
Orakei Korako 'The Place of Adorning' - a spectacular Geothermal attraction. Lonely Planet Travellers Guide writes… “ Orakei Korako is arguably the best thermal area left in New Zealand".
Situated between Taupo and Rotorua on the banks of the Waikato River (Lake Ohakuri) lies The Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park.
Off the beaten tourist track, Orakei Korako is only a 25-minute drive north of Taupo and reached by a short ferry trip over the tranquil Lake Ohakuri.
At Huka Falls you can witness the phenomenon of natural hydro power with more than 220,000 litres of water per sec barreling over 11 meter high waterfall.
The Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, moves gracefully north from Lake Taupō between banks 100 metres apart. Just before the Huka Falls it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The effect is nature's large-scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle.
The previously placid waters roar and rumble at great speed along the ravine before bursting out over Huka Falls to crash into the turbulent pool 11 metres below. A foot bridge right at the top of the falls puts you in a prime position to get up close and witness the powerful display of water blasting by. If you'd like to see the power and fury of the falls up close, try a jet boat ride or river cruise.
Craters of the Moon
Feel that heat of the Earth as you explore a geothermal valley hissing with clouds of steam and view cauldrons of bubbling mud from viewing platform.
In the 1950s a large area of land north of Taupō suddenly began to get hot and emit steam. Craters of boiling mud emerged, along with other geothermal phenomena. And so the Craters of the Moon was born.
Wooden boardwalks have been constructed to protect visitors from the heat of the soil and these are regularly moved as new vents emerge. One minute you're in clear air marvelling at the eerie steam clouds, then with a shift in the breeze you're enveloped in a cloud and your sunglasses are completely fogged up.
The tracks lead to several viewing platforms on the edge of large craters, from where the relentless power of the earth's fiery core becomes truly apparent. You can view clouds of slightly sulphurous steam, hissing vents, colourful soils and cauldrons of bubbling mud as you wander through the otherworldly terrain
Check out the Tourism New Zealand website for more information about the amazing things to see and do in New Zealand