At the centre of New Zealand's North Island is a lake the size of Singapore - Lake Taupo.
Discover this great lake, its connected rivers and surrounding mountains, and the destination village of Taupo that sits at its shores...
Violent Volcanic Origins
Vast and deep (159 metres - that's taller than the Statue of Liberty), Lake Taupo is actually a volcanic crater formed by one of the most violent eruptions of the last 5,000 years.
The lake itself is clean and clear - fed by a steady stream of alpine water - but proof that this is still very much an active geothermal landscape abounds...
Just beyond Lake Taupo sits a trio of volcanoes - the sacred Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. The legendary Tongariro Alpine Crossing - regarded as one of the best one day hikes in the world - will take you deep into this wilderness.
Closer to Taupo township, take a ferry ride to Orakei Korako (also known as The Hidden Valley) to see a kaleidoscope of volcanic activity, including over 20 erupting geysers. At the Craters of the Moon Reserve, walk the winding track walk amongst geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming, hissing fumaroles.
The Hidden Valley - Orakei Korako
Nature's Own Hot Tub
People have been coming to Taupo since the 1800's to soak in the many geothermal hot springs - experiencing not just relaxation, but the therapeutic benefits of the highly mineralised water, too.
One of the best hot springs, known as Onekeneke, is also the site of the DeBretts Resort. The DeBretts complex features outdoor pools, private pools, and even hydroslides and kids pools. A great spot to escape to while the boys are off fishing or golfing, with luxury spa and beauty packages on offer, too.
Mighty Huka Falls
Almost 50 rivers and streams feed Lake Taupo, but only one river drains it - the Waikato River. This river is normally around 100 metres wide, but as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge just north of Taupo township, it narrows to an almost-impossible 15 metres.
Every second, more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over this ledge - creating New Zealand's most visited, most photographed attraction - Huka Falls.
Walking the easy track along the river, and standing at the very precipice of the falls, is a New Zealand must-do. If that's not exhilarating enough, you can always jump on board the Huka Jet. This half hour of jet boating thrills takes you past sheer rock cliff faces and hot water streams, spinning and speeding your way upstream, heading straight for the thundering base of the falls.
That's not the only activity to get your blood pumping here in Taupo - the stunning scenic landscape is your backdrop for a whole variety of adventures!
With over 30,000 jumps a year, Taupo is actually the skydiving capital of the world, or challenge yourself to a bungy jump or whitewater rafting trip.
One of the most fabulous ways to spend a day at Lake Taupo is on board a luxury sailboat. Explore the great lake's many sheltered coves and beaches, spotting village settlements dotted around its shores and stunning homes built on the banks of remote bays. Go swimming, fishing, wake-boarding, or just relax on board with a gourmet lunch, good wine and a good book.
Visit the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, depictions of a revered ancestor from the local Maori iwi (tribe). Towering 14 metres above the surface of the lake, the carvings took five artists and four years to sculpt from the rock face.
World Class Fly Fishing
There are six rivers which flow into the eastern flank of Lake Taupo, and together these offer - no exaggeration - some of the finest trout fly fishing anywhere in the world.
The jewel in the crown is the Tongariro River. The largest and most important spawning river in the region, it has rightfully earned its reputation as a spectacular 'big river' to fish for both rainbow and brown trout. Other more remote rivers - some accessible only by helicopter - offer the best back-country nymph and dry fly fishing to be had anywhere. Let us arrange an unforgettable wilderness fishing adventure for you, with one of our truly world-class local guides.
Image via heli-fishing guides Fly Fish Taupo
Whether you are an experienced angler or completely new to this stunning sport, Taupo is the place to cast a fly.
Look out for a Travel Journal feature dedicated to New Zealand Fly Fishing soon...
Taupo By Air
There's such a variety of stunning scenery here, you need a few days at minimum to appreciate it all. Unless, of course, we book you on a scenic flight - on a helicopter or float plane.
See the thunderous Huka Falls from the air, soar over the vastness of the great lake and see the beautiful braided rivers and streams that feed into it. Fly over geothermal wonders, into back-country native bush, and out over the snow-capped peaks of the three volcanoes in the UNESCO Dual World Heritage Area. Unforgettable.
Images via Taupo's Floatplane
Floating over the thunderous Huka Falls. Image via Inflite Charters