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Lake Taupo, New Zealand's Largest Lake

Visitor Details for Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand


View of Tongariro National Park from Lake Taupo

View of Tongariro National Park from Lake Taupo

Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

Lake Taupo is a the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and is situated in the very center of the North Island of New Zealand. It is a very popular spot for both kiwis and international visitors for the wide range of sights and activities to be found in the area.

The Lake Taupo Region

The area surrounding Lake Taupo is home to many natural attractions. On the northern side are the geothermal areas of Wairakei and Rotorua. To the south is one of New Zealand's most important national parks, the Mt Tongariro National Park. With UNESCO World Heritage status, the park contains the three mountains of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngaruhoe.

Location and How to Get to Taupo

Lake Taupo appears on the map as being almost dead center in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. As such it is one of the farthest places from the ocean in the country. It is well positioned for any tour of the North Island and is one of the most popular tourist areas in the country.

Most tourists reach Taupo from Auckland or Rotorua, a drive of four hours and one hour respectively. It is also readily accessible from Napier in the Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

Read More: Driving Tours of New Zealand: Auckland - Rotorua - Taupo


Lake Taupo sits on a very active volcanic fault line and was itself formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. The last of these, and one of the most violent, occurred less than 1800 years ago, in which more than 24 cubic miles of material was released into the air. The explosion was believed to have been seen as far away as China, and it was one of the largest volcanic eruptions to have happened on the planet within the last 5000 years.

In more recent times the area has also held great significance for the Maori people. It is one of the earliest inhabited parts of the country. The name "Taupo" translates as "rain cloak" and was given the name after an early Maori chief noticed a cliff formation which looked to resemble his own cloak.


Being located so far inland, and with the mountains to the south influencing the climate still further, the climate in the Taupo region can be warm in the summer and cold in the winter. Rain and strong winds are also common from March until November.

See below for the temperature range throughout the year.

Read More: Weather in New Zealand

When to Visit

The most popular time to visit Taupo is over the summer months, from December to March and it is a popular holiday destination for kiwis as well as overseas visitors. This is the best time to take part in the many outdoor activities that Taupo has to offer.

In the winter Taupo is also popular as a base from which to visit the skifields of Whakapapa and Turoa on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu.

Spring and autumn (fall) are lovely times to visit if you don't mind the less predictable weather. Temperatures can be cool but it is generally quieter and there can be many lovely days.

Read More:

What to See and Do

There is a huge range of things to do in the Taupo area depending on the time of year. Whether it is outdoor or indoor that you most enjoy, you will find plenty to entertain you in the Taupo region.

Read More: Top Ten Things to Do in Taupo

The temperature range is as follows:

  Daytime Maximum: Nighttime Minimum:
Summer 74 °F (23.3 °C) 53 °F (11.6 °C)
Winter: 52 °F (11.2 °C) 36 °F (2.2 °C)


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