Lake Taupo Travel Guide
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Formed almost 2,000 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption and a huge area of land that collapsed and got filled in with water, Lake Taupo is the size of Singapore and a reminder of the terrifying and wonderful powers of nature. This caldera and the wondrous natural features (many of them geothermal) around the southern hemisphere’s biggest freshwater lake draw over a million visitors a year the the region. Though the lake itself has dazzlingly blue water and unbelievably good trout fishing, though there’s much, much more to Lake Taupo.
The Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park, also known as The Hidden Valley, is justifiably billed as a “geothermal wonderland”. Opened in 1937 and accessed by boat (a ticket to ride over is included in admission fees), the park features as many as 23 geysers operating, as well as bubbling mud pools, the Ruatapu Cave and a hot pool at the bottom of this.
Another of the top-level local attractions is the Huka Falls, one of the most photographed sights in the whole country. One look will make the traveller aware of the reasons behind its popularity. As many as 222,000 Litres of water every second are forced through a crack in a rock face at the Waikato River, creating a tremendous sight. Visitors can take a boat trip near to the bottom of an 11-metre waterfall. The falls are north of Lake Taupo and on the Waikato River.
A few kilometres from Lake Taupo is the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest National Park. Some of Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy was shot here. As well as sightseeing for movie buffs, there is excellent hiking along a number of trails, snowboarding, skiing, climbing and unbeatable fishing.
Beside the Tongariro River is the Tongariro National Trout Centre. Visitors can feed trout in the fishes’ habitat. The centre includes a massive freshwater aquarium and a museum which tells of the history of local fishing and the life cycle of the trout.
The climate in Taupo is, compared to other parts of the country, cold and windy, though rarely sees snow. The average maximum and minimum temperatures in January are 23.3 and 11.5 degrees Celsius, and 11.2 and 2.2 in July.
Among a number of local annual events, the New Zealand Ironman marathon event has been held in Taupo every year (in March) since 1999.
Taupo Airport is serviced by Air New Zealand, and flies to and from Auckland and Wellington.