The beautiful Lake Taupo is about the size of Singapore – more of an inland sea really. It 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 Lake Taupo's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents. Just north of Lake Taupo 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.
You'll find a vast array of activities in, on and around Lake Taupo.
Get close to nature:
Lake Taupo region is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty.
- Take a boat or kayak and cruise around secluded coves and beaches of Lake Taupo. Visit the intricate Maori Rock carvings at Mine Bay - they're only accessible by water.
- Catch a rainbow or brown trout on Lake Taupo or go fly-fishing with a local guide on the Tongariro River.
- Explore an active geothermal area of mud pools, craters and steaming vents at Craters of the Moon and Orakei Korako.
- Walk through ancient rainforest in Whirinaki and Pureora Forest Parks, or vast ancient beech forests in the rugged Kaimanawa Forest Park.
- Walk the famous Tongariro Crossing or drive the 'Volcanic Loop' highway to see Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.
Need more adventure?
On and off the Lake, Taupo's adventure activities abound.
- Take a jet boat (or river cruise) to the foot of Huka Falls and feel the thunder.
- Bungy jump over the Waikato River.
- Tandem skydive for a jet's eye view of Lake Taupo.
- Mountain bike through rugged, unspoilt bush - pick up a cycling map to find the best terrain.
- Rip into river fun with white water rafting, adventure kayaking or canoeing.
- Dip into lake activities like windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing, water-skiing and wakeboarding.
- Ski on an active volcano - Mt Ruapehu is home to the Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields.
Time to relax:
Indulgence, fresh air and peace comes with the territory.
- Enjoy a picnic on the shores of Lake Taupo, and a refreshing dip in the Lake's clear waters.
- Soak in geothermally heated waters at one of Taupo's hotspring resorts.
- Capture an aerial view of the Lake, along with the mountains of Tongariro National Park from a helicopter or floatplane.
- Practice your swing on one of the region's six golf courses.
- Dine out at one of the many restaurants (try 'Taupo beef") or sample the seafood at Huka Prawn Park.
- Grab a map and follow the arts and crafts trail, or stroll the town's stylish shops.
- Gain a fascinating insight into the customs and history of the Maori people - visit a replica Maori Village, watch cultural performances and taste a traditional hangi (feast) at Wairakei Terraces.
A Boat Cruise on beautiful Lake Taupo is one of the best ways to experience New Zealand's largest lake.
Many boat cruises visit Lake Taupo's fascinating Maori Bay rock carvings - accessible only by water - providing full commentary on the culural significance of the carvings and the lake itself. If you're a keen angler, choose a boat cruise that also offers trout fishing - Lake Taupo is known for its trophy-sized trout. The Otunui Paddleboat is a unique cruising experience where you'll explore both the lake and the Mangakino Stream. If you're hopping on a boat cruise in summer, you'll be able to take a dip in Lake Taupo's fresh, pristine waters.
Taupo town centre, perched on the edge of Lake Taupo, is a haven for boutique shopping.
With streets dotted with Kiwi designer shops, art and craft galleries and Kiwiana souvenir shops, Taupo offers a combination of unique shopping experiences paired with stellar mountain and lake views. Being a tourist town, Taupo is home to a range of gift and souvenir shops showcasing a great range of Kiwiana clothing, jewellery and memorabilia. Visit art galleries dotted with both local and international work, or stop in at Kiwi fashion boutiques for a piece of clothing to remind you of your holiday in New Zealand. The best place for shopping is the Taupo town centre, where pedestrian friendly streets, free parking and plenty of cafes make it easy to enjoy the shops.