The Great Lake Taupo region is undoubtedly one of the world’s most unique and picturesque areas. This popular tourist destination boasts the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, and the mountains are internationally renowned. They form part of the dual World Heritage area of Tongariro National Park, and Mt Ngauruhoe featured as the ominous Mount Doom in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The beautiful Lake Taupo is about the size of Singapore – more of an inland sea really. Taupo was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you'll see evidence of the lake's fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Lake Taupo's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.
The active volcanic and geothermal region of Great Lake Taupo is a sporting mecca and nature-lover's paradise. The area really is nature’s ultimate playground. There are many activities centered on and around Lake Taupo and the numerous tributaries that feed into it. Water-skiing, sailing, scenic cruises, white water rafting, wakeboarding, swimming and kayaking. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion. The forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking to suit all levels of experience.
Just north of Lake Taupo you'll find New Zealand's most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
But what Taupo is really known for is fishing. The town of Turangi has the largest natural trout fishery in the world; this is the place to cast a line and look for the big one. Turangi also happens to provide a convenient base for exploring Tongariro National Park, whether it be walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (New Zealand's most popular day walk) or skiing at Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields.
No matter what the weather in the Great Lake Taupo region, there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for snow-based activities in winter, the mountains of Tongariro National Park, just 75-minute drive south of Taupo, offer endless winter fun. Two large commercial ski areas and one club field are situated on Mount Ruapehu. The ski season typically kicks off in late June and ends in early October, though there have been years when people were still enjoying snow into November. It’s well worth taking advantage of the winter months and heading up to the mountain with the entire family for some fun in the snow.