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In the middle of the North Island, Taupō township sits on the north-eastern shore of massive Lake Taupō. Although it may look like you’re on the shores of an ocean inlet, the lake (often said to be about the size of Singapore) is freshwater and is a prime spot for water-skiing, sailing, fishing and kayaking. Taupō is conveniently located close to the main North Island ski areas and the world-famous Tongariro Crossing, and the surrounding area offers excellent hiking and mountain biking.

Tow Paw?

While some people may have trouble pronouncing Taupō, you don’t need to worry because here’s a quick primer: Taupō is pronounced Tow Paw. The lake’s full Maori name is Taupō-nui-a-Tia (the rain cloak of Tia). Tia was was an early Maori chief and one of the great explorers of the Taupō area, and the name originally referred to cliffs that resembled his cloak.

New Zealand’s largest lake is New Zealand’s largest volcano!

Don’t be alarmed, but Lake Taupo lies in the caldera of an active supervolcano, which has been active for around 1.6 million years! But not very active recently!

Radiocarbon dating suggests that the most recent eruption of Taupo was around 230 AD, when a vent in the volcano erupted with such force that it not only buried the North Island in volcanic debris, but covered the Chatham Islands, 1000 km away with a layer of ash 18 cm deep! The supervolcano then collapsed into the caldera that it is today.

powered by nature

Nowadays, the energy beneath the lake is harnessed for geothermal energy that powers the local region. You may see evidence of the geothermal forces as you travel around Taupo: plumes of clear white steam can be seen on the lakefront and near the streams that empty the lake, and the 193km shoreline has a constantly replenished supply of pumice – great for exfoliating rough skin! If you get a swim in the lake, you may notice warm, geothermal water currents.

Don’t worry, if it weren’t safe to visit, we wouldn’t have our very own upmarket backpacker lodge in Taupo!


  1. A group shot next to the LOVETAUPO sign on the waterfront is a Haka Tours must-do!

  2. Get on the water for a scenic cruise out to the impressive Maori rock carvings which can only be viewed from the water at Mine Bay.

  3. Nearby Huka Falls is part of the Waikato River that drains this largest body of freshwater in Oceania. Here – either by footbridge or by jetboat tour – you can see (and hear) more than 220,000 litres of water per second thundering over an 11-metre high waterfall


  1. Get a snap of you doing a water touch bungy jump off the cliffs of Waikato River Valley. Yeah!

  2. From the 1088m summit of Mt Tauhara above the town you can see much of the supervolcano / lake’s 616 sq km surface area.

  3. In winter, the view across the lake to the snowy summits of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park is seriously photogenic.

  4. Extreme photo challenge: get a selfie as you skydive above the supervolcano!

Photo Credits: Love Taupō

Tours including Taupō

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North Island Adventure Tour

Price from$1,349NZD

Enjoy adventure activities, incredible scenery and fascinating Māori culture as we show you the highlights between Auckland to Wellington.

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Haka Plus

Northern Trail

Price from$3,199NZD

An unrushed exploration of the North Island’s top attractions including the Coromandel, Tongariro National Park, Rotorua & Wellington.

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North Island Trail Hunter MTB Tour

Price from$2,099NZD

Ride the North Island’s best white-knuckle downhills & single-track flows including the MTB wonderland of Whakarewarewa Forest.

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Amplified NZ Tour

Price from$2,899NZD

Discover the best of the North and South Island. Tours run from Auckland to Christchurch, or Christchurch to Auckland.

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Haka Plus


Price from$3,799NZD

A sample platter of North and the South Island highlights including the Coromandel, Tongariro, Rotorua, Kaikoura & Christchurch.

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NZ MTB Dreamer Tour

Price from$4,599NZD

Saddle up for the best NZ MTB tour! Ride Rotorua's Redwood Forest, exhilarating Wanaka & Queenstown + backcountry & private trails.

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Legendary NZ Tour

Price from$3,899NZD

Our Legendary Tour lives up to its name, with stupendous scenery, bucket loads of adventure and eye-opening cultural experiences.

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Epic NZ Tour

Price from$4,399NZD

Discover more of NZ than most New Zealanders, as you thoroughly explore the best of both the North and South Islands.

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Haka Plus

New Zealand Uncovered

Price from$6,499NZD

Uncover all the beauty, adventure, culture and fun activities of New Zealand and tick practically everything off your bucket list.

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