Taupo and TongariroNorth Island
The Taupō region and Tongariro National Park are located in the centre of the North Island, right on the famous Pacific Ring of Fire, a very active volcanic area.
The town of Taupō is located on the shore of Lake Taupō, in a 26,000 years old caldera that followed the eruption of a "super-volcano". 616 km2 big, it is the largest lake in the country, almost as large as the city of Singapore. Its waters created the Waikato River, the longest river in the country, and it is possible to watch the impressive Huka Falls, a waterfall releasing an impressive 220,000 litres of water per second, not far from the city.
Taupō is the perfect place to enjoy any kind of water activities. We also suggest that you go for a cruise on the lake, with a small group of people. This yacht will take you to a very beautiful Māori rock carving, made in 1980.
The city is also the North Island’s outdoor activities’ capital, making it the ideal spot for skydiving, rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing or enjoying a jet boat ride.
Perfectly located to discover the region, Taupō can easily be enjoyed for a 3-night stay to discover the surroundings, and in particular the gorgeous Orakei Korako geothermal park (approximately 1h30 visit). You can admire the magnificent multicoloured silica terraces, where more than 20 million litres of hot water (heated by the underground magma) flow over the terrace into Lake Ohakuri each day.
From Taupō you can choose to go for the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a fabulous day hike that takes place in the heart of the National Park. A morning shuttle provides a daily round trip from your accommodation to the park, so you can enjoy the hike.
We recommend that you consider Taupō as a base camp if you wish to do this hike. Simply because if the weather conditions are bad in the Tongariro National Park and it isn’t safe to enjoy the hike, you will find plenty of alternatives from Taupō, while if you were to stay in the National Park, your options would be very limited.
Established in 1894, then inscribed in 1993 by UNESCO on the World Heritage List, Tongariro National Park is remarkable for more than one reason. The park includes 3 volcanoes: Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. It is very popular in summer for its several hiking trails, and in winter for its ski fields. It will be able to fulfil the most experienced hikers as well as the occasional hikers.
For the nature lovers who aren’t avid hikers, we strongly recommend the unforgettable experience of a 30 min scenic flight over the 3 volcanoes. This flight departs either from Taupō, or from the National Park. It is most certainly one of the most beautiful scenic flights in the country. From the sky, the landscape is breath-taking. By foot or by plane, photography lovers will be delighted.
This region is a highlight, due to its location and its diversity. Easily included into an itinerary, it will thrill those who love outdoor activities and volcanic scenery.
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