Lake Taupo area


Taupo township lies at the northern end of Lake Taupo, New Zealands largest lake at 622 square km. Taupo, and Turangi at the southern end of the lake, are the centres for many of the walks and activities around the central North Island.

Just south of the lake is Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park and a World Heritage Area. On the western side of the lake, the Pureora Conservation Park is home to such rare birds as the shy Kaka or bush parrot. To the east of the lake, The Kaimanawa Ranges (Kaimanawa Forest Park) contain vast ancient beech forests. And at the Lake's southern end is one of the world's most famous trout rivers, the Tongariro.


Lake Taupo beachfront at Taupo township. Photo: Dave Wakelin.
Lake Taupo's beachfront Lake Terrace
is extremely popoular during the
summer months for those staying in

The Taupo area owes its spectacular scenery to its location in an active volcanic zone. Violent eruptions have occurred over millions of years creating the caldera (collapsed volcano) filled by the waters of Lake Taupo, extensive lava plateaux and other volcanic landforms such as Mt Tauhara.

Ash layers, ignimbrite cliffs, pumice and carbonised wood fragments provide constant reminders of a history of volcanic upheaval.

Attracted by the lake and thermal resources, the area was settled by Maori in the late 14th century, becoming a stronghold for the Ngati Tuwharetoa people. European visitors came to the scenic heart of the North Island in the middle of the 19th century and settled here from about 1860.

A few Lake Taupo facts

  • The lake is 622 km² in size
  • Reaches 160m in depth
  • Occupies a series of old volcanic craters 
  • The most recent eruption occured about 1800 years ago when 60 km³ of debris was blasted out of a single vent
  • Its full name is Taupo-nui-a-Tia (the great cloak of Tia). Tia was a chief and explorer from the waka Arawa


Lake Taupo is located in the central North Island.


Fishing Fishing
Mountain biking and cycling Mountain biking and cycling
Snow activities Snow activities

Many outdoor activities are available here. Some of the most popular are fishing, skiing, walking, hiking and cycling. The town and the area host a large number of outdoor multisport events.


See Taupo Trout Fishery


The region is known for its hunting as well, particularly the sika deer in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. For all the detailed information you need about where you can hunt, take dogs and pesticide use visit our local hunting pages. See Turangi/Taupo hunting.

Mountain biking

Cycling opportunities are shared with pedestrians. As A highlight is the Bike Taupo Track from Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch.

Places to stay

Taupo, Turangi and a number of lakeside settlements have an abundance of of accommodation ranging from camp grounds to backpacker hostels, motels, bed and breakfast, lodges and hotels.

Related link

Great Lake Taupo website


Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Central North Island places


Turangi Office
Phone:      +64 7 384 7106
Full office details