New Zealand's Lake Taupo region offers one of the world's finest examples of untouched, unspoilt and uncrowded country. Lake Taupo is a giant crater filled with beautifully clear water and is the ultimate inland cruising ground. This beautiful lake is about the size of Singapore - more of an inland sea really. It was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies as far away as Europe and China.
The region holds many natural wonders including the largest fresh water lake in Australasia, created by the world's largest volcanic eruption in the past 5,000 years; the best one day hike in New Zealand; majestic mountain peaks; and the country's largest ski area.
And if this isn't enough you'll also find beautiful bush, sub-apline hiking tracks, the freshest and cleanest streams and rivers imaginable, plus Maori heritage and their vibrant culture to learn about. Click here to view a short video
The region is divided into four parts, Lake Taupo, Turangi, Mangkino and Ruapehu, and Tongariro National Park.
At Lake Taupo you'll discover the enormous fresh water lake, pristine native bush, steaming thermal areas and one of the world's only Dual World Heritage Parks.
Turangi, located at the southern end of Lake Taupo, is central to all the outdoor activities in the region. It has been long recognised as the 'trout fishing capital of the world'. But you'll also find great activities like White water rafting, kayaking, bushwalking and 4x4 bike tours. A must-see is the historic village of Tokaanu, famous for its hot mineral pools and geothermal area.
Mt Ruapehu and Tongariro is bordered by the Tongariro National Park, a Dual Heritage site. Within the park are the country's two largest ski areas - Whakapapa and Turoa. A 30 minute drive from Turangi, the Tongariro Crossing has been described as 'the best one day hike' in New Zealand. Exquisite Bush, streams and sub-alpine hiking tracks can all be found here. This area is also huge in Maori culture and heritage.
Mangakino is a little more off the beaten track, with plenty of wide open spaces to see. Delight in a mirror image lake, vast native forests, rolling farmland and friendly country villages, many beside the beautiful Lake Maraetai.
The Majestic Huka Falls are called 'The First Wonder of Taupo'. The impressive final stage of the falls is an 11 metre drop and jetboats takes tourists within a few metres of the bottom. A few hundred metres upstream the Waikato River narrows from roughly 100 metres across into a hard rock silica canyon only 15 metres wide, and the water thundering through it often approaches 220,000 litres per second!
The Lake Taupo Volcanic Zone is simply a wonderland, with a fiery and violent history - a total of 28 eruptions in the past 27,000 years have occurred.
The size of the 26,500 year-old Oruanui eruption is difficult to grasp, but roughly 800 square kilometres of pumice and ash were ejected. The rapid eruption of so much material caused several hundred kilometres of the area around the vent to collapse to form the Lake Taupo basin, now partly filled by the lake.
Thermal wonderlands and natural hot springs sprawl throughout the Taupo Volcanic Zone, and beautiful mountain running waters feed into Lake Taupo which gives this stunning lake its clean unpolluted water.
Craters of the Moon is a place you must visit, its barren moon scape with clouds of swirling steam, a spectacular example of the inner earth's fiery inferno bursting forth. This active geothermal field is dotted with exposed steam vents which are constanly shifting, collapsing and reforming. Thermal mud pools bubble away and plants not normally native to the area thrive in the hot and partly noxious environment. Boardwalks and pathways have been created to lead spectators safely through the area making sure the fumes and hot temperatures around the steam vents are no danger to the tourist in this well-visited spot.
Lonely Planet Travellers Guide wrote that Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park is "possibly the best thermal area left in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world", so it's a must-see. click here for a short video
Of course, it goes without saying that the area also caters for all the necessary creature comforts, and dining and entertainment options abound. The region is world famous for its diverse selection of restaurants, cafes, suburban deli's, and food markets. The local influence of eating in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by the beauty of the landscape has produced some inspired dining experiences, from local specialties to contemporary european flavours.
On the shores of Lake Taupo, Lakeside Villas is a five minute walk from the town centre, with sailing, water skiing, swimming, rafting, canoeing and golf nearby the resort. Lakeside Villas one and two bedroom units feature fully equipped kitchens, whirlpools, laundry facilities and patios with great scenic views. Studio units are also available.
Taupo Ika Nui is also situated only five minutes walk from the town centre, on the lake shore and offers a full range of resort facilities. The one or two bedroom units are air-conditioned, with colour television and stereo, dishwasher and microwave, heating and electric blanket.
Phoenix Resort offers a combination of well-appointed studio, one and two bedroom units. The resort is set in a picturesque rose garden situated across the road from Lake Taupo. The Resort has tapped into the thermal layer to provide each unit with its own thermally heated pool.
Lake Edge Resort is located on Lake Taupo and the resort features, a children's play area, games room, gymnasium, heated outdoor swimming pool, a spa pool and sauna, plus an owner's lounge. The 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom units feature a BBQ, 2 colour televisions, a dishwasher, microwave and washer/dryer, plus heating and electric blanket!
Again, only a five minute walk from the town centre and on the shore of the lake, Village Resort units feature fully-equipped kitchens, laundry facilities and patios with great views. You'll also find a wide range of activities with tennis, kayaking, bicycles, kid's play area, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a spa.
Other resorts to consider when planning your holiday in the Lake Taupo region are Turangi Leisure Lodge, Kaimanawa Lodge, and Retreat - all well appointed and central to everything the area has to offer.