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Lake Taupo North Island

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo North Island.
There is much to see and do in the Taupo area

The largest lake in New Zealand is Lake Taupo in central North Island, and, at 623 square km, it is twice the size of the next largest lake, Lake Te Anau. Indeed, Lake Taupo is the largest freshwater lake in Australasia.

Lake Taupo has a perimeter of 193 km and a maximum depth of 186 metres.

The lake is a crater lake situated in the caldera of the Taupo volcano and is drained by the Waikato River - also the longest river in New Zealand.

The area is home to many native plant, fish and bird species. The fish in the lake include both native and introduced fish, such as common bully common smelt, koaro, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The two species of trout were released into New Zealand's rivers by settlers in the mid-19th century. Catfish have been found in the lake since the mid-1980s.

Like rivers, the lakes in New Zealand are often known by their Maori names. The Maori word for "lake" is "Te."

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand.
Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand


Tourism is a major industry in the area of Lake Taupo. Activities on the lake include fishing, parasailing, sailing, swimming, and white-water rafting on the Waikato River. There are also river cruises and jet boat trips to the base of Huka Falls on the river. Walking and cycling in the vicinity of the lake are popular, too.

There are seven designated areas for swimming, marked with white and black banded posts on shore, as well as black and white buoys in the water.

Taupo is the sky-diving capital of New Zealand and the world! An amazing 30,000 jumps a year are made over the area.

Apart from all the activities, visitors can visit the Taupo Museum with exhibits of Maori artifacts and a 1960s caravan.

Huka Falls on the Waikato River, New Zealand.
Huka Falls on the Waikato River, North Island, New Zealand.


As well as being beautiful to look at the lakes in New Zealand are both a source of drinking water and hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity is the main source of renewable energy in New Zealand producing over 50% of the energy generated in the country. The majority of it is produced in South Island and most of it is consumed in North Island.

Mercury Energy operates eight hydroelectric dams on the Waikato River downstream of Lake Taupō.

Note, however, that there is considerable opposition to hydroelectric power on environmental grounds in New Zealand.

Lake Taupo North Island.
Parasailing on Lake Taupo - the largest lake in New Zealand

Access - Getting There

There are daily flights between Auckland Airport and Taupo operated by Air New Zealand.

Taupo is approximately 3 hours, 30 minutes by car from Auckland, and 4 hours, 30 minutes from Wellington.

There are regular InterCity buses from Auckland to Taupo which take about 5 hours and cost in the region of 70 NZD. From Wellington, the direct bus journey takes about 6 and a half hours and costs from 60 to 80 NZD.

Taupo's local bus service is the Taupo Connector operated by Go Bus. There are 3 main routes - Wharewaka to Tongariro Street (i-SITE); te Heuheu Street to Wairakei Village and te Heuheu Street to Jarden Mile.

Taupo i-SITE

30 Tongariro Street, Taupo
Tel: +64 7 376 0027


Lake Hauroko

Rivers in New Zealand

Waterfalls in New Zealand

Lakes in the UK

Hotels in New Zealand

Some recommended places to stay in Taupo include the Lakefront Lodge Taupo with views of the lake as the name suggests, the Lakeland Resort Taupo complete with a tennis court, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and restaurant and the five-star Hilton Lake Taupo with restaurant, an outdoor thermally heated pool, hot tub and tennis courts.

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