The powerful beauty of the volcanic landscape provides a dramatic backdrop to everything you do. Highlights include Turangi-the North Island's trout fishing capital, Tongariro National Park and Orakei Korako Geyserland.
Taupo is located at the north-east corner of Lake Taupo and functions as a tourist centre, particularly in the summer, as it offers panoramic views over the lake and the volcanic mountains of Tongariro National Park to the south. To capitalise on the large number of visitors, Taupo has seen the development of a number of tourist ventures from sky diving, jet boating, paragliding and other such activities. Taupo also services a number of surrounding plantation pine forests, including the largest manmade forest in the world, Kaingaroa Forest, and related industry.
The focus of this region is Lake Taupo - New Zealand's largest lake (619 square kilometres) and the heart of the North Island.
Lake Taupo was created by a volcanic eruption so big the sun went hazy in China (relax, that was a few thousand years ago). Almost everywhere you look there's a volcano. Just a few minutes north of the Lake at Wairakei you'll find geothermal fields, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers.
In Taupo itself, and at the little village of Tokaanu near Turangi, there are hot mineral springs that have been soothing weary souls for centuries. And the prawn burgers at the world's only geothermally heated prawn farm will blow you away.
Lake Taupo is a great vacation destination in both summer and winter. Trout fishing is a major attraction—it's now over 100 years since the first trout fry were released into the lake and today it is one of the last true wild trout fisheries in the world.
Skiing and adventure activities are other reasons to visit. And when you're not on the lake or up a mountain, you'll find the Taupo town centre crammed with cafes and interesting shops. The nearby Huka Falls area is great for picnics and nature walks—or you could take a thrilling jet boat ride right to the foot of the thundering water.
A few minutes south of the Lake is Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park and a World Heritage area. It was created in 1887 when its three magnificent volcanoes, Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, were gifted to the people of New Zealand by the Ngati Tuwharetoa people.