Taupo - Central North Island
Taupo - Central Plateau Overview
New Zealand's main volcanic area, the Taupo Volcanic Zone, stretches in a line from White Island, north of the Bay of Plenty, through Rotorua and down to Tongariro National Park, which proudly claims the title of dual UNESCO World Heritage Area. The Central Plateau, at the heart of the North Island, is the centre of New Zealand's volcanic activity, and the volcanoes put on a spectacular show from time to time, perhaps once around every 7 years.
The Ruapehu/Tongariro National Park region is a mecca for outdoor lovers, year round! Summer is a great time to hit the hiking or biking trails, and in winter you can ski down an active volcano, and it is also the largest ski field in New Zealand! The world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand's premier day hike, if not one of the world's! For an even greater appreciation of all the volcanoes, the Tongariro Circuit is a 3-4 day tramp around the volcanoes and is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. The fresh rivers near Turangi provide for world class trout fishing, which can also be found in Taupo.
Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake. In fact, it is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia, and with the plethora of activities on offer (from fishing and boating on the lake or scenic flights over the voclanoes to the adrenaline pumping activities such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jetboating) it is on most traveller's itineraries. Taupo is also the source of New Zealand's longest river, the Waikato River, and the Huka Falls are a spectacular sight to behold.
Due to its close proximity to the volcanoes, you can also find a lot of geothermal activity around Taupo. The Orakei Korako thermal area receives fewer visitors than other thermal areas due to its more remote location, but it's probably one of the best thermal areas left in New Zealand, and possibly the world.
Things you shouldn't miss in Taupo - Central Plateau
- Make sure you include the Desert Road drive in your touring route, one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.
- A scenic flight around the dual World Heritage Area volcanoes.
- Visit the Huka Falls
- A hike in Tongariro National Park
- Hire a mountain bike and hit the trails around the volcanoes.
- Ski down an active volcano in winter
- Relax on the shores of Lake Taupo