Taupo Scenic Highlights
The Lake Taupo region in New Zealand's volcanic heartland is rich in Māori tradition, and has some of New Zealand's finest, untouched, uncrowded and unique landscapes.
Taupo Scenic Highlights Overview
Lake Taupo has scenery on the grandest scale—the mountains and lake dominate the landscape, changing their colour palate subtly as the seasons slide by.
Lake Taupo - A Crater as Big as an Inland Sea
Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. The most serene is Lake Taupo itself, created by an eruption so big the sun went hazy in China.
Lake Taupo is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia with water so clean a few zillion trout call it home. The Lake is 616 square kilometres—that's about the same size as Singapore! Water activities take place in the lake all year round, including water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, fishing, cruising, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and landing in it by float-plane!
There are 47 rivers and streams feeding into Lake Taupo, and just one outlet—the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. Taupo township is located right on the edge of the lake, with many hotels offering views across the lake to the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park.
The Thundering Waters of Huka Falls
The Huka Falls is New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. The thundering Huka Falls provides a fantastic photo opportunity—more than 220,000 litres of water tumbles over the cliff face per second!,/
Located in Wairakei Tourist Park, just a short drive north of Taupo, there is an Information Centre located by the Huka Falls and several viewing platforms provide excellent vantage points.
Be There When the Spillway Opens at the Aratiatia Rapids
The Aratiatia Rapids on the Waikato River (just 10 minutes drive from Taupo township on State Highway 5 toward Rotorua) are flooded daily at 10:00 am, 12:00 noon, 2:00 pm (winter) and also 4:00 pm in summer. This is caused by the opening of the spillway at the nearby Aratiatia Dam.
The spillway is opened to recreate and demonstrate how the river used to flow prior to the dam being built. 90,000 litres is released from the spillway per second.
Craters of the Moon - feel the heat!
This is a walk with a difference. Named for its other-worldly atmosphere, the Craters of the Moon thermal area in Wairakei Park sprang up in the 1950s, when the nearby power station lowered underground water levels. The 30-minute walk visits bubbling craters, mud pools and steam vents.
You can also see a lot of interesting plants that have adapted to thrive in the hot, steamy conditions. Enjoy this fantastic geothermal area free of charge along well-formed pathways with elevated viewing platforms.
Volcanic 'Mount Doom'
The Tongariro National Park World Heritage Area at the southern end of Lake Taupo isn't just legendary for its dramatic and eerie scenery. What makes the area especially unique is its accessibility—you can ski on an active volcano or take a one day hike from alpine meadow to mountain summit, with stunning volcanic landscapes along the way.
Thanks to a geologically turbulent past, the area provided the Lord of the Rings crew with the raw material they needed to create mystical Middle-earth, including Mordor, Emyn Muil, Mount Doom and the Plains of Gorgoroth.
Useful Taupo Links
To help plan your Taupo holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Taupo Accommodation
- Taupo Tours
- Taupo Attractions and Activities
- Taupo Transport
- Taupo Cuisine and Dining
- Taupo Shopping
- Taupo Visitor Information
Taupo Region Information
Key information and facts about the Taupo region.
Major activities and attractions in the Taupo region.