If you get the chance to visit New Zealand during the summer, there are few places as spectacular as Lake Taupo. Located almost exactly in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, Lake Taupo is actually a body of water that fills a volcanic caldera. When you combine the boating and water activities of the area with the scenic beauty and local culture, it’s easy to see why this is a top destination for travelers as well as local residents in New Zealand. Here are some of the must-do and must-see attractions and activities in and around beautiful Lake Taupo.
See Huka Falls Up Close
Just before the Waikato River gets to the sharp drop of Huka Falls near Lake Taupo, the width narrows. The result is an incredibly powerful waterfall that is unlike any you might have seen before. In order to see the power and beauty of Huka Falls up close, hike the track along the river from Spa Park, which will take just over an hour to complete. When you arrive, climb onto the footbridge at the top of the falls and gaze in amazement at the force of the water. If you are feeling really adventurous, join a jet boat tour that takes you to the base of the falls. This is a real thrill, and it helps you appreciate the 220,000 litres of water that rush over the face of the cliff every single second.
Admire the Maori Rock Carvings of Mine Bay
To experience some of the local Maori culture, Mine Bay is an excellent place to start. The cliffs of Mine Bay were used in the 1970s as a canvas for master Maori carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell. He and his assistants carved traditional pictures into the side of the cliff, and they are only visible by boat.
Go Fishing For Trout
When you take into consideration that Lake Taupo is actually the same size as Singapore, it is not surprising to learn that there are plenty of great spots to go fishing. If you choose to stay closer to the shoreline, you will have a good shot of catching the popular brown and rainbow trout in the water. If you would rather try your hand at fly-fishing, hire a local to guide you on a boat up the Tongariro River.
Be Stunned at the Craters of the Moon
Despite being one of the most impressive natural landmarks in the area, Craters of the Moon is actually a relatively new destination, geologically speaking. In the 1950s, geothermal phenomena occurred and created the craters, heat and constant steam. A boardwalk leads you right through the Craters of the Moon and lets you admire the incredible setting up close.
Relax and Lounge by the Water
While you can get your heart racing by jet boating, bungy jumping or even skydiving, one of the best things to do in Lake Taupo is simply relax. You might want to unwind at the Taupo Hot Springs Spa, or go for a quick lap in one of the five designated areas of Lake Taupo that are reserved exclusively for swimmers. Look for signs directing you to either Kinloch or Kuratau, as both are free from motorized vessels and make excellent places to kick back, unwind and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Learn About the Maori People in Pureora Forest Park
If you are interested in learning more about the environment surrounding Lake Taupo, as well as about the Maori tribes who call the area their home, join a tour through the Pureora Forest Park. You can learn how to say the Hongi, the traditional Maori greeting, or take lessons from master artists on how to weave or carve authentic crafts.
Since Lake Taupo is located firmly in the center of the North Island, it makes a great starting point for road trips throughout New Zealand. You can easily reach many of the major cities by car within the afternoon, which makes it perfect for a quick getaway. With Europcar car rental, you could be at a museum in Auckland in less than four hours or dining in Christchurch in just five and a half hours.
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