Like much of New Zealand, Taupo – located right in the middle of North Island - has appeared on cinema screens thanks to filmmaker Peter Jackson, who used its mountains as the location for Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings. You won’t find any doom here though, despite the region’s explosive history. You’re more likely to discover relaxation as you wander the grassy reserves and tiny beaches on the shores of the vast blue water. A visit to Tongariro National Park is a must for nature lovers. It’s New Zealand’s oldest national park and the home of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a walk across volcanic ground with views of the bright blue Emerald Lakes.
Some one-of-a-kind natural sights are waiting for you in Taupo. Huka Falls is where Lake Taupo drains into NZ’s longest river: the Waikato. It’s also one of the wildest waterfalls you’re likely to come across. A river normally 100m wide gets squeezed through a 20-metre area of volcanic rock. The result is 220,000 litres of water per second gushing over the 11-metre falls into a foaming greenish blue pool. You can watch the action overhead from a pedestrian bridge or be a part of the action by rocketing down on a jet boat ride. Told you there’d be adventure!
Moon-walk your way to the Craters of the Moon Scenic Reserve. In the 1950s, a nearby geothermal power station caused underground water pressure to drop and the ground to heat up and let off steam. From the safety of platforms and walkways, you can watch pools of mud boil as swirling clouds of steam fog up your glasses. Hire a kayak and journey to some of Lake Taupo’s more secluded beaches and coves. The most exciting is Mine Bay, where you’ll find the rock carvings of Maori artist Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, including a carving of the ancient navigator Ngatoroirangi that is almost 10 metres high.
Want to see a little more of Taupo? Jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet and you can see it all, as well as the volcanoes and mountains around it. You can also bungee over the Waikato River or windsurf or jet ski the lake. If adventure activities aren’t your thing, you can still go boutique shopping in Taupo or kick back in a lakeside cafe or restaurant.
Wot more do you need? Book your Taupo accommodation with us now, because a lot can happen on one lake.
Image credit Antilived under Creative Commons
Hotels in Taupo start at NZ$47 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.