Taupo is a small town in the centre of the North Island. It’s home to approximately 50,000 people and New Zealand largest lake, The Great Lake Taupo.
Lake Taupo is a giant crater that was created approximately 27,000 years ago by a huge volcanic eruption. The eruption was so massive, that as per Maori legend, the ash blocked out the sun for two weeks.
♦ Huka Falls. This is New Zealand’s largest waterfall (by volume of water flow) and is a 5 minute drive from central Taupo. Alternately you can walk here from the centre, there’s a really nice track that takes 20 minutes, if you have the time, we’d suggest walking. There are several viewing platforms at Huka falls but the best is the lower one. Here you can feel the spray and the thunder of the water rushing down, you’ll quickly get an appreciation of what a flow of 200,000 Litres of water per second feels and looks like.
♦ The Pink and White Terraces. These were the 8th natural wonder of the world before they were destroyed in 1886. A large eruption buried the terraces along with a small Maori village. All that remains of the terraces are photos and paintings.
Taupo however does have a small smaller version – Wairakei Terraces (pictured in the header and below). Its a thermal attraction with a small walkway tour. We enjoyed it as a place to go and relax in the thermal pools for hours. At $25 NZD per adult it’s not cheap but you will have an enjoyable visit.
♦ Lake Taupo. The lake also offers a huge amount of activities. An interesting self-tour you can do, is kayaking to the famous Maori rock carvings. These were commissioned in the 1980’s and display not only Maori culture but they also tell a story. It’s certainly an interesting trip and only accessible by water. Allow 4 – 5hr and only go if it’s not raining.
The lake also offers parasailing for $100, self-drive boat hire for $120/hr and Jetski hire for $150/hr. We didn’t do any of these as they were a bit pricy for us but, if your that way inclined the option is there.
♦ Night life. Taupo also offers a good night life. It’s a holiday location for people who live in New Zealand and is a must do for travellers. You’ll find that the bars and pubs get pretty busy and you can expect to find live music and an awesome atmosphere.
♦ Accommodation. There’s a lot of competition out there between the hostels and as a result the price has been driven down. You can expect to spend $20 per night at a backpackers.
♦ Transport. Everywhere you’d want or need to get to is within a 30 minute walk from the centre so a vehicle is not required.
We stayed in Taupo for 1 night as we were on route to the world famous and amazing Tongariro Crossing. You can book transport for it at Taupo’s i-site and they will also be able to give you advise on the expected weather and suggest clothing accordingly.