Geothermal

Lying on a volcanic plateau above a vast underground lake of magma, Taupō is alive with astonishing geothermal activity. 

From steaming vents and bubbling mud lagoons, to rainbow-coloured silica terraces and rejuvenating hot springs and mineral pools, the ever-changing landscape can be both entrancing and formidable.

Geothermal activity can be seen all through the region.

From the warm water crater lake atop Mt Ruapehu, to the steaming cliffs at Hipaua, and the thermal areas along the Thermal Explorer Highway - geothermal activity is obvious.

From the top of Mt Tauhara near Taupō town, you can look 158km north to the active volcano White Island, which lies at the far end of the Taupō Volcanic Zone.

For an interactive educational experience you can visit the Volcanic Activity Centre in Turangi.

Throughout Taupō you’ll also spot steaming geothermal power stations generating sustainable energy by capturing the power of scalding water from deep underground.

Orakei Korako is a hillside wonderland of active geysers, steaming terraces, gemstone-coloured pools, and New Zealand’s only geothermal cave.

Orakei Korako is a hidden gem around 30 minutes drive north of Taupō. Its candy-coloured landscape is the closest you’ll come to seeing the legendary lost Pink and White Terraces, which were destroyed in an eruption in 1886.

Closer to Taupō, Craters of the Moon is an otherworldly moonscape.

At Craters of the Moon you can expect burping fumaroles, steamfields that constantly shift, collapse and regenerate, bubbling craters, colourful soils and heat-loving plants. It’s an easy, wheelchair and buggy friendly boardwalk trail.

There are few things more relaxing than spending an afternoon soaking away aches and pains in a mineral-rich thermal hot pool.

There are numerous hot pools around Taupō and Turangi. Several have health spas and water playgrounds for children on site.

If you’re on a budget, there’s free access to the natural Otumuheke thermal stream at Spa Thermal Park, and locals can even point you to spots around the lakefront where warm water bubbles up naturally.

Discover more highlights

  • Scenic attractions

    Huka Falls

    You’ll hear the Huka Falls well before you see the waterfall – it’s the sound of nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupting from a natural gorge and thundering 11m into the Waikato River below.

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  • Scenic attractions

    Waikato River

    Born on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, the longest river in New Zealand drains Lake Taupō through Taupō town, blasts through a narrow rock chasm to create the Huka Falls, then winds more peacefully northwards towards Port Waikato, south of Auckland.

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  • Scenic attractions

    Lake Taupō

    At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupō.

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  • Scenic attractions

    Pureora Forest Park

    The 78,000ha Pureora Forest Park is an ancient rainforest of giant native New Zealand trees, totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea, and rich with rare native bird life.

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