Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Description, location, photos

Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Lake Taupo is a jewel in the realm of New Zealand’s scenic landscapes and one of the most popular destinations for exciting yachting in this country.

Lake born of a volcano

Located in the crater of an ancient volcano and surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, Taupo impresses not only with the scenic views that one takes in when sailing in this body of water in New Zealand, but also with its sheer size, being the largest of any lake in this country.

Volcanic Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Its area is just over 600 km², which is comparable in size to Singapore. Taupo’s record does not end there: it is also the second largest freshwater lake in all of Oceania.

Kayaking on Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Fun fact! The story of the origin of Lake Taupo is described in detail in Jules Verne’s novel about the search for Captain Grant. New Zealand also turned out to be among the probable places where the captain was found, and the famous French fiction writer did not scrimp on including interesting facts about this country in his narrative.

In the footsteps of the Maori

The actual name of the lake, in Māori, is Toupo-noi-a-Tia, the cloak of Tia, the first Māori to discover the area. Maori tribes appeared here around the end of the 13th century.

Yachting in New Zealand on Lake Taupo

This is interesting! The British colonizers were able to overpower the Maori through special water technology. Armored boats with flat bottoms were ordered in Sydney, so arrows and bullets from the old Maori guns simply bounced off the sides, so Lake Taupo became a strategic point that brought the British closer to victory.

The Town of Taupo on the Northeast End of Lake Taupo in New Zealand

On the northeastern edge of Taupo is the town of the lake’s namesake. In it you can visit the museum of the New Zealand lake, which has witnessed many historical events, and learn a lot of interesting things about the history of these places and their indigenous people – the Maori tribe. A fascinating journey around Lake Taupo on the antique yacht The Barbary, built in 1926, can also be an interesting contact with New Zealand’s historical past.

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Yachting in New Zealand’s “Mordor

Yachting on Lake Taupo is very popular in New Zealand because you can see the country’s historical past (Maori cave paintings) and breathtaking scenery. Beech and pine forests on the lakeshore are juxtaposed with the three majestic volcanoes that surround Taupo from the south.

Maori rock art on Lake Taupo in New Zealand

To many, the scenery may seem very familiar. Do you have any idea where? The Lord of the Rings saga is the answer! It’s hard not to think of Tongariro Volcano, which spewed colored smoke and served as a natural backdrop for the filming of Mordor. Taupo Volcano, which gave birth to the lake, is considered a dormant volcano that may wake up unexpectedly and once again become active.

Lake Taupo of volcanic origin

This is interesting! There are only 5 volcanoes, the eruption of which, according to scientists, can completely change the world. So, along with the formidable volcano of Yellowstone Park, which many have heard about, stands Taupo Volcano.

Trout – a valuable Taupo fishing trophy

One of the most popular water activities on Lake Taupo, the average depth of which is 110 meters (the maximum depth is 183 meters), is fishing. Before the 19th century, the only things you could catch here were crayfish and white smelt, but after trout were introduced from California, the Taupo became a real fishing paradise.

Fishing in Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Large brook trout and rainbow trout (one fish weighs up to 10 pounds) and eel – that’s what can be found on the rod, so fishing in Lake Taupo is unlikely to leave indifferent the true connoisseurs of such active pastime.

Interesting fact! The source of the Uaitahanui River flowing out of Lake Taupo is known among fishermen as the “Sentinel Fence.” The fancy name comes from the fact that the fishermen here stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other to catch fish that have jumped out of the lake into the river.

In addition, the Hautahoui River has a lot of ponds where you can catch a lot of big trout. Now, each pond is named after a famous person who once fished in these areas. For example, Major Jones Pond.

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Trout fishing in Lake Taupo

Trout fishing in Lake Taupo is relevant all year round, but do not forget that for such aquatic entertainment here should always get a license, even if your plans are only recreational fishing.

Other activities

Kayaking is also one of the popular activities on Lake Taupo. On the shore, you can go to the bustling Hooka Falls near the town, as well as visit the hot springs around the lake, a reminder of the age-old geothermal activity in these areas.

Lake Taupo fun in New Zealand - not only water but air as well

If you want more extreme adventures, you should pay attention to the aerial activities offered in these places: bungee jumping, skydiving and flying on light planes over Lake Taupo. Local restaurants are worth tasting dishes of classic English cuisine and traditional New Zealand wines, distinguished by a pleasant taste and aroma.

A side note! The warmest month is February and the rainiest is March. At other times of the year, precipitation is evenly distributed.

Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand. It is located on the territory of the administrative district of Waikato in the center of the North Island in the caldera of the dormant volcano of the same name. Along with our Lake Baikal, Lake Taupo is a unique and valuable reservoir of fresh water on Earth.

Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Lake Taupo on the map

  • Geographic coordinates ( -38.785717, 175.896058 )
  • Distance from the capital city of Wellington approximately 300 km in a straight line
  • The nearest airport is 5 km south of Taupo at the northwest end of the lake

About 30 rivers flow into the lake and outflows a single, but the longest and largest river in New Zealand – the Uaikato. In Maori it means “water flowing into the sea. Lake Taupo is not only the largest lake in New Zealand. It is the largest freshwater lake in the entire South Pacific. And the second largest (after Lake Murray in Papua New Guinea) in all of Oceania.

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Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Lake Taupo in numbers

  • Length – 40.5 km
  • Up to 28 km wide
  • The area of the lake is 616 km2
  • Absolute height above the sea – 356 meters
  • Length of the coast 153 km
  • The volume of water is estimated at 59 km 3
  • The average depth of the lake is 110 and the maximum depth reaches 186 meters

About 26500 years ago, a powerful volcanic eruption (also known as the Oruanui eruption) occurred in this area, which created a depression. It gradually began to fill with the water of the rivers, which changed their course and began to flow into the nascent lake. The rains also partially filled it with water. As a result, after some time and formed a full-fledged lake. In its southeastern part, there is a small island called Motuteiko. Its dimensions are 560 by 400 meters.

Motuteiko Island

In ancient times, the volcano, in the caldera of which Lake Taupo lurks, was quite active. About 70,000 years ago there was a strong eruption. Scientists estimate that it can be estimated at 8 points. Then about 1170 km 3 of volcanic ash and lava were ejected from the bowels of the planet. Large eruptions were noted in the year 180 AD. The last known volcanic eruption known to history was recorded in 210 AD. Since then, the area around it has been uninhabited for several decades. It was not until 1280 that the Maori tribes returned.

Today the volcano is considered dormant, but he constantly reminds himself of the hot springs, geysers, springs and warm currents in the depths of the lake.

Nature and Climate of Lake Taupo

The lake has a temperate maritime climate. Daily maximum temperatures recorded here range from 23.3 o C in January and February to 11.2 o C in July, while nighttime minimum temperatures range from 11.6 o C in February to 2.2 o C in July. It can rain at any time of year, but the heaviest rainfall is in winter and spring, from June to December.

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Life boils in the waters of the lake, as well as on its shores. The surrounding area is covered with dense thickets of coniferous and beech forests, ferns and various shrubs. There are geothermal springs deep within the lake that have become home to colonies of sponges and several species of invertebrates. The aquatic environment is abundant with crayfish, small tulka and coho, rainbow and brook trout, which were imported from North America and Europe in the 19th century. And the trout food was smelt, imported from the same place. Now the fish population has greatly multiplied, which cannot fail to please fans of fishing. Fishing is one of the favorite activities on the lake, both for tourists and locals. Here it is quite realistic to catch a trout weighing 10 kg.

Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Lake Taupo Attractions

Tourism is a major component of Taupo’s commercial sector. More than 2 million visitors a year come here. The largest influx of travelers is during the high summer season during the Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations.

At 80 km northwest of the lake is another famous and magical attraction – the Waitomo Caves. It is here where you can see the starry sky in the underground. It is highly recommended to visit or at least read about this natural masterpiece.


Near the lake are active volcanoes Ruapehu (2,797 meters high) and Ngauruhoe (2,291 meters high).

Lake Taupo and volcanoes

Lake Taupo in front of volcanoes

Rock carvings

Lake Taupo is also famous for its rock art. In particular, the Maori bas-relief on the rock of Maine Bay, which depicts a face. It is more than 10 meters high and you can see it only if you get to it by boat, boat or kayak. It is noteworthy that this image did not appear in ancient times, but quite recently. They were created on the rocks in the late 1970s by Matahi Wakataka-Brightwell and John Randall. The face of the chief of the Tuharetoa tribe is carved into the rock. Legends say he lived about a thousand years ago. The sculpture is intended to protect the lake and its surroundings from destructive volcanic eruptions. Now it is not only a kind of totem, but also another attraction popular with tourists.

Waitomo Firefly Caves in New Zealand

Bas-relief on Lake Taupo

Bas-relief on Lake Taupo

100 km north of Lake Taupo is Hobbiton, a real hobbit village. This is a large-scale setting for filming movies about the mysterious land of Middle-earth. It’s worth visiting this interesting place and remembering the famous scenes about the “halflings”.

Hook Falls.

Five kilometers downstream from the source of the Huicato River, at a point where the width of the river abruptly decreases from 90 meters to 15 meters, the Huka falls (in the original Huka falls) were formed. It is a rough water stream of about 250 meters long.

Hooka Falls

Huka falls

And two kilometers from Huka falls on Karapiti Road is another interesting place “Craters of the Moon”. As you guessed, these are natural formations very similar to the craters of our satellite.

Interesting facts

Cycling route around Lake Taupo

  1. Each year on the shore of Lake Taupo is a bike ride of 160 kilometers. It gathers about 1 million spectators. The beginning and the end of the route are in the city of Taupo, the largest community on the shore A diagram of the bicycle route around Lake Taupo
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