Welcome to the largest lake in New Zealand and the largest freshwater lake in Australasia.

Lake Taupo is so large that it is around the same size as Singapore. One of the best ways to enjoy it is to get out on its waters. Don’t miss the 14 metre-high Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings which depict Maori culture and mythology in a spectacular art form that can only be viewed from the lake. If you’re into mountain biking, The Great Lake Trails, on the western shores of Lake Taupo, are regarded as one of the best grade three mountain bike trails in the whole of New Zealand. Lake Taupo is also world famous for its trout fishing, both on Lake Taupo and in the surrounding rivers. You can also see the thundering waters of Huka Falls, one of the most visited and most photographed natural attractions in New Zealand.

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Highlights of Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo kayaking

Lake Taupo kayak tours

A Lake Taupo kayak tour is one of the best ways to truly surround yourself with the serenity of the lake and the surrounding area. A kayak tour is also the best way to get up close to the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. If you would prefer to take in the scenery on a beautiful river, you can kayak down the Waikato River and take in the surrounding beauty.

White water rafting

White water rafting

You can’t go white water rafting on Lake Taupo itself but the nearby Tongariro River which flows into Lake Taupo offers loads of scenic fun for paddlers of all ages and abilities. This river offers plenty of thrills but nothing too wild for first timers. When you’re not paddling and riding the rapids, keep an out for rainbow and brown trout swimming near the raft.

Huka Falls

Jetboating on Lake Taupo

Most people simply snap a photo of Huka Falls from the viewing bridge but a jetboat trip offers a far more exciting look at this dramatic waterfall. Think 360 degree spins, speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, and lush riverbanks with native vegetation and rocky cliffs. Good luck getting a not-blurry photo during this half-hour of power on the Waikato River.

Maori rock carvings

Lake Taupo boat cruise

Lake Taupo is a beautiful spot that’s ideal for a scenic boat cruise as it has pristine water that is so clear you can see right to the bottom of the lake. While you’re sailing along and enjoying the view, keep an eye out for native water birds, hidden coves, and the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay which are more than 10 metres high and took four summers to complete.

Parasailing on Lake Taupo

Parasailing on Lake Taupo

You’ll feel free as a bird – and get a bird’s eye view as well – when you’re flying high above Lake Taupo on a parasailing adventure. You can fly by yourself or with a friend – or even two friends if you don’t want to pick your favourite. There’s no need to worry about getting wet either as parasailers at Lake Taupo get a dry take-off and landing from the back of the boat.

Lake Taupo aerial view

Lake Taupo scenic flight

Enjoy a scenic flight over Lake Taupo or venture further afield to Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's oldest National Park. Tongariro National Park is a dual World Heritage site, recognised for both its outstanding volcanic landscape and its great cultural significance. Here you’ll get to see not one but three live craters and also three blue-green lakes.

Lake Taupo Tour Reviews

Lake Taupo FAQs

The closest airport to Lake Taupo is Taupo Airport which is an 8 kilometre drive from the lake. Direct flights take 50 minutes from Auckland and 1 hour from Wellington. Driving to Taupo from Auckland takes 3.5 hours or it's a 4.5 hour drive from Wellington. There are also regular InterCity bus services which take slightly longer as they pick up and drop off passengers along the way. 

The best way to experience Lake Taupo is to get out on its crystal clear waters. There are also walking trails along the shore of the lake. 

The weather at Lake Taupo can be warm in summer so don't be surprised if you find yourself kayaking around the lake in shorts and a t-shirt. If you're to keen to try water sports like rafting or kayaking, a summer visit is a good choice as the weather is warmer if you do happen to fall into Lake Taupo or one of the nearby rivers. It can get cold in winter with temperatures dropping to around two degrees Celcius. Autumn brings the colours of leaves changing from green to red and gold and spring is perfect for strolling and sailing around the lake. 

Clothes you can layer work best if you're travelling to Lake Taupo as it can be very warm in the middle of the day. Add a jumper or jacket, wet weather gear, sunscreen, a hat and a beanie. Remember to pack a fleece if you're heading out on the water as it can get chilly on the boat, even in summer. Comfortable shoes are also a must for exploring this scenic area.  

Lake Taupo is a laid back destination so people tend to dress casually. Smart casual is considered 'dressy' at most restaurants in the main town of Taupo.  

The is good WiFi coverage at Lake Taupo but the signal can be weak when you're exploring some parts of the lake. 

The is good mobile phone coverage at Lake Taupo but the signal can be weak when you're exploring some parts of the lake. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. Some Lake Taupo tours such as kayak trips and parasailing adventures are easier than others for travellers with limited mobility. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

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