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U.S.FTC GUIDELINES PLEASE NOTE: we act as an affiliate for several companies that feature on our website. In some cases we may earn a commission from referrals to those companies. For further information please refer to our Privacy and Disclaimer policies which can be found in the "US" tab.

The Lake Taupo NZ region contains Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake.

Amazing Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay - pic courtesy Viator - click for more information on how you can see these amazing carvings

Lake Taupo NZ is home to the spectacular Huka Falls, and has to be one of the North Island's most beautiful spots.

We love coming here. The scenery blows us away, and the friendly locals always make us feel welcome.

The region is also an active volcanic area where geothermal energy bursts through the earth's thin crust.

The area is an outdoor paradise, and a popular destination for holiday adventures and relaxation. Keen anglers flock to the region for some of the best trout fishing in New Zealand.

The region is located in the center of New Zealand's North Island, and sits south of Rotorua and west of Hawke's Bay.

Thundering Huka Falls - image courtesy Destination Lake Taupo

According to Maori legend, Lake Taupo NZ is the “heart” of New Zealand, and is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia.

The lake was created in an ancient volcanic eruption, and the region is full of natural thermal springs and bubbling mud pools.

Located on the lake’s edge, the picturesque Taupo township is a base for visitors wanting to explore the region’s highlights, and is one of our favourite North Island destinations.

Huka Falls Lake Taupo

Huka Falls is New Zealand's most visited natural attraction, and is located on the Waikato River just north of Lake Taupo NZ.

South of Lake Taupo, the Tongariro National Park has dual World Heritage status recognising important Maori cultural and spiritual associations.

Also on this page

There's lots of information on this page about Lake Taupo NZ, so to make it easier for you to find what you need, we've included some handy links below.

Just click on the links to move to that part of the page.

To return here, just click on your browsers back button.

* getting here

* our Top Rated activities in the region

* where to stay - accommodation

* a little history

* the great outdoors in Lake Taupo NZ

* lots more things to see and do

* some facts about the region

* maps

Getting here

By road

The town of Taupo (population around 35,000) is around three and a half hours drive south of Auckland via State Highway 1.

Waterfront dining at Taupo - pic courtesy Tourism New Zealand

From Wellington, it's around four and a half hours drive north, also via State Highway 1.

Taupo is around one hours drive from Rotorua.

Please refer to our State Highways map.

By air

At the time of writing, Taupo Airport had flights to and from Wellington and Auckland.

You can check for available flights on the airport website by clicking here.

Check out our Top Rated activities in and around Lake Taupo

There is so much to see and do in this amazing part of the North Island.

So to make it easier for you we've narrowed it down to a few of our favorites.

Based on our visitors reviews and our own experiences, here are our top picks:

The "Adventure Combo" is a "must do" if you are in Taupo

With some of the best inland waterways in New Zealand, there are few better ways to experience this magical part of the North Island.

If you are in Taupo the jetboat and whitewater rafting combo is a "must do"

Hold on for the ride of your life as you scream along the mighty Waikato River towards the thundering Huka Falls on a jet boat!

If you have never been in a jetboat, be prepared for something special. These awesome boats will go almost anywhere and we are constantly amazed by the agility and speed of these things.

And what trip to New Zealand would be complete without a whitewater rafting adventure! You'll love negotiating the rapids on the fast flowing Tongariro River.

All equipment is provided and your experienced guides will make sure that you have a day to remember.

Our visitors love this tour.

You can read their reviews and learn more by clicking on the button below.

Very highly rated.

Come and see the famous Taupo Maori rock carvings

There's no better way to experience Lake Taupo than by actually being on it!

Feel the serenity on the Taupo Maori Rock Carving cruise

The Maori rock carvings look awesome in the pictures, but up close they are spectacular.

Cruising on Lake Taupo gives you a real sense of just how big it is, and it's a really relaxing tour, as you sit back and just watch the world go by.

Your ninety minute tour takes you past lots of secluded bays and, if you pre-purchase a fishing license you can even have a fish!

Your experienced guide has lots of information about the lake and region, and they even have on board activities to keep the kids entertained.

If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive tour, this one is really good.

You can learn more by clicking on the button below:

Maori Rock Carvings Lake Taupo

No time to do the combo? Not a problem. Your jetboat awaits!

There are few New Zealand activities more iconic than a jetboat ride.

Yes it's as much fun as it looks. A jetboat ride to Huka Falls in Taupo is a "must do".

The jetboat was invented in New Zealand, and for several decades was used by farmers to access land along the narrow shallow waterways that frequent the country.

Then one day, someone decided that they could use the jetboats for fun!

Well today there are commercial operators spread around the country, and the one thing they all have in common is a desire to thrill their customers.

This awesome ride takes you along the mighty Waikato River, past cliffs and native forests, to the thundering Huka Falls. You won't believe how much water rushes over these relatively small falls.

Your adventure includes 360 degree spins (we love it) and lots of fast paced action on the Waikato.

Highly recommended.

Please click on the button below to see what our visitors thought of this "must do" adventure.

Wow! Whitewater rafting on the Tongariro is amazing

If you want to combine some great thrills with amazing scenery, then this is the activity for you, and was rated by Lonely Planet as one of New Zealand's unmissable aquatic adventures in 2015.

Your whitewater rafting adventure on the Tongariro River is something that you will remember forever.

This half day whitewater adventure takes you through beautiful wilderness country to the banks of the stunning Tongariro River.

After your safety and instructional briefings it's out on to the river for a mind blowing two and a half hour epic, fun filled bash, as you negotiate more than sixty grade three rapids!

You soon realize that you are part of a small team, and as your guide prepares you for the next rapid, there's a collective sense of "we can do this".

The water and scenery are sensational, and to top it off, a yummy lunch is included.

What a great way to experience the great outdoors, Kiwi style.

Heritage  - Lake Taupo NZ

The lake was created by a massive volcanic eruption around 186AD. It is said that the huge eruption turned the skies of Europe and China into a fiery red.

The New Zealand Maori people arrived in the region about 700 years ago. The Ngati Tuwharetoa iwi became the region’s dominant tribe. It was a harsh existence where the unfertile ashy soil made it difficult to grow kumara (sweet potato) and the lake was a poor food source.

Europeans arrived in Lake Taupo NZ in the 1830s, but were deterred by the harsh conditions which drove many away. Taupo township was founded in 1868 with the establishment of an armed police post, however it wasn’t until the 1950s, when land was cleared and fertilised, that the region began to flourish.

Lake Taupo NZ is culturally significant for Maori, and has many examples of historic and contemporary Maori culture.

Huka Falls - pic by Paul Abbitt

Maori rock carvings, on a cliff at the southern end of Mine Bay, are an important contemporary cultural attraction. The work of master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, the carvings feature the legendary Maori navigator Ngatoroirangi, who first led his people into the area. Two smaller Celtic-inspired designs depict the south wind and mermaid. Located in a remote bay and accessible only by water, the carvings can be visited by launch and kayak.

Wairakei Terraces gives another insight into Maori history and culture. The replica Maori village at the world-first man-made silica terraces has Maori carving treasures, cultural performances and traditional hangi (earth oven) food.

Guided tours into native forest highlight the spiritual relationship between Maori and the land, local cultural history, and New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. The nature / culture tour also tells how Maori have utilised forest resources for centuries.

Accommodation and a little luxury

Taupo has a wide range of accommodation with something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Our best advice is to carefully read reviews and see what other visitors thought before making your choice.

When we stay in Taupo we choose  Baycrest Lodge.

We love the great lake views, it's always spotless, and they have an awesome thermal rock pool.

Another nice place to stay is the Village Resort. Located across the road from the lake, it's a 10 minute flat walk to the shopping center.

On our last stay we chose a two bedroom two bathroom apartment with lake views. The apartment was spacious and fully self contained with a kitchen and laundry facilities.

We made use of the outdoor BBQ area and the heated pool.

You can read reviews and learn more about the Village Resort Lake Taupo here.

View from Village Resort Taupo
The BBQ area at Village Resort Taupo

Here are some links to help you find exactly what you need:

* to search all accommodation in the Taupo region click here.

* to search for hotels and reviews for Taupo township click here.

Looking for something REALLY special?

Lake Taupo NZ is a popular choice for luxury travelers. There are many lodges and boutique accommodation options for discerning visitors attracted by leisure activities and a peaceful fresh water setting.

Huka Lodge is an international award-winning boutique hotel in a stunning location on the banks of the Waikato river and just above the mighty Huka Falls. Surrounded by native bush and gardens, the 20-room lodge also has two exclusive cottages - the Owner’s Cottage and the Allan Pye retreat.

The iconic Huka Lodge. We thank them for the image.

New Zealand’s first exclusive retreat, Huka Lodge has a vast cellar and a reputation for fine dining in intimate inside and outdoor dining areas with fireplaces, candles and privacy. Helicopters take guests on scenic flights over Lake Taupo, to nearby active volcanoes, or remote riverside fly-fishing spots.

Acacia Cliffs Lodge was architecturally designed to capture stunning views of Lake Taupo, Mount Tauhara and the Kaimanawa Ranges.

This is the perfect place to enjoy your New Zealand honeymoon, take that overdue romantic getaway, or just a holiday, all in a relaxed, luxurious environment. You can also book exclusive use of the lodge for a special time with friends or family.

Acacia Cliffs Lodge Taupo picture courtesy

Acacia Cliffs Lodge feels secluded and private, and yet Taupo's facilities and many wonderful attractions are close by!

Your hosts, Linda and Rick, have an extensive knowledge of the local region, and will happily assist you with ideas and feedback on the many wonders of this beautiful region.

Here you can do as little, or as much as you like. The choice is yours. Scenic flights over the lake and nearby volcanoes, fly fishing with a professional guide, a game of golf at the Jack Nicklaus designed Wairakei International Golf Course, or a hike in the world heritage Tongariro Alpine Crossing. These are just a few of the many activities available in the region.

Linda and Rick look forward to welcoming you to Acacia Cliffs Lodge and this special part of New Zealand.

Come and experience the great outdoors, Taupo style

The Lake Taupo New Zealand region is a vast playground for fishing, hiking and adventure.

The Tongariro River, on Lake Taupo’s southern tip, is considered one of the world’s best trout fishing spots. Private guides also take anglers to remote rivers and streams (their "secret" spots).

Cascading falls at Whirinaki Forest Park - image courtesy Whirinaki Rainforest Experiences

The Tongariro is also the perfect river for novice white water rafters and recreational kayakers. Tour operators offer day or overnight camping adventures along the river.

The Tongariro National Park is also the location of the Tongariro Crossing. The famous alpine crossing over active volcanoes is one of the world’s best single day mountain treks. Closer to Taupo, there are many forest and mountain walking tracks for all fitness levels.

For adrenalin junkies, Taupo New Zealand has one of New Zealand’s most spectacular bungy jumps, a 47 metre plunge from a cantilever platform above the Waikato river. Choose to touch the water or stay dry! If you have not had a bungy jump, we can highly recommend it. We jumped from the old Kawarau bridge (43 metres) near Queenstown, and it remains one of the most amazing experiences of our life.

To get a bird's eye view of the rugged landscape, why not try a tandem Sky dive.

There Is Lots To Do In The Region

Here are a few suggestions:

Steam vents at Craters of The Moon - we thank them for use of the image

* To relax after a hard day, try the AC Baths. This modern complex of thermally heated pools offers a choice of public and private pools. The Taupo Hot Springs Spa also has a range of pools and also offers massages and beauty therapy.

* Visit the Craters of the Moon. This constantly changing thermal landscape consists of numerous steam vents and an area of boiling mud and water.

* A must see is Huka Falls. Although only 3 metres high, the sheer volume of water (around 200,000 litres per second) passing through the narrow gorge makes this a memorable sight. A great way to see the falls is on a thrilling jetboat ride.

If you are in Taupo, a visit to Wairakei Terraces hot pools is a must. We thank them for the use of their image.

* Visit the Tongariro National Park, which in addition to the famous Tongariro Crossing, is also home to the Mt Ruapehu ski fields.

* Visit Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserve. Located on State Highway 5, between Taupo and Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu features the Lady Knox geyser, bubbling mud pools, steam vents and coloured thermal pools. You can read reviews and purchase your entry tickets here.

Bubbling mud pools at Wai-O-Tapu

* Take a trout fishing trip - the region is well known for its prized rainbow and brown trout, and there are several guided trips available.

* And if you are feeling adventurous, why not try the Taupo Adventure Combo (helicopter flight, jetboat ride, whitewater rafting and scenic cruise).

* Have a swim in the lake. On our last visit, in the middle of summer, the water temperature was around 21 degrees celsius (around 72 degrees farenheit). But beware, in winter the temperature can drop to a chilly 10 degrees celsius.

Enjoy Lake Taupo NZ.

Some facts about Lake Taupo NZ

* Lake Taupo's eruption was so huge, ash has been found in ice cores drilled in Greenland.

* Lake Taupo is largest freshwater lake in New Zealand and covers an area of some 616 square kilometers. The shoreline stretches for 193 kilometers.

Lake Taupo shoreline length sign

* Kaiangaroa forest, north of Taupo, is the world’s largest man-made forest.

* Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park, was the fourth national park established in the world.

* Huka is the Maori word for 'falling water'.

* Taupo's full name Taupo-nui-a-Tia translates as 'the great cloak of Tia' - after the lake’s discoverer.

For more information on Lake Taupo NZ, click here to visit the New Zealand Tourism web site.


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