Lake Taupō

At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupō. This huge, shining expanse of water, moving between aquamarine blue and jade green, is crystal-clear to a depth of 13 metres. It is home to one of the best wild trout fisheries in the world, more than 30 species of water bird, several types of native fish and native kōura (crayfish).

It’s known by local tangata whenua (‘people of the land’) as Taupō Moana, the 'inland sea of New Zealand'.

Most days, the lake is beautifully calm, but its creation was one of the most spectacularly violent natural events in history. The gigantic Oruanui eruption, 27,000 years ago, shot volcanic debris 50km into the air, covered the North Island in a thick layer of volcanic ash, and created the caldera that is now the lake.

It’s New Zealand’s largest lake (and Australasia’s), with a surface area about the same size as Singapore.

Lake Taupō is the hub for many of the area’s activities and attractions.

You can enjoy fishing charters, scenic boat tours, waterskiing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and the extraordinary Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay. The Great Lake Trail which is part of Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail runs around the shoreline.

Lake Taupō has a steep drop-off from the shore to an average depth of 100m, and plunges to 186m at its deepest point.

In the mornings Lake Taupō can be shrouded in mist, which usually rolls back by midday to reveal the sparkling waters beneath.

The surface of the lake is often dotted with pale balls of pumice, a volcanic rock so light it floats on water.

Related stories

Article

How do I pronounce Taupō?

Taupō – pronounced ‘Toe–paw’ – is a shortened version of the region’s full name, Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Literally translated, Taupō-nui-a-Tia means ‘the great cloak of Tia’. 

Towns & Villages

Taupō town 

Lakeside settlements 

Taupō Moana - the great inland sea 

Lake Taupō map

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