Lake Taupo New Zealand’s largest lake


The first time that I saw Lake Taupo, on New Zealand’s North Island, was not under the best circumstances.  I was riding a motor bike around New Zealand and had ridden for hours through a typical New Zealand storm; being lashed by strong winds and driving rain meant that I was ready for a break when I finally reached Lake Taupo.

I was feeling wet, cold, hungry and miserable and so, rather than camp out, as I had been doing, decided to live it up, so I booked myself into the Amazing View Motel.  “Stupid name for a motel,” I thought, as I dined on a tin of cold baked beans and went to bed with the sound of the downpour lulling me to sleep.

When I awoke, the rain had stopped.  My room featured this big picture window, so I flung open the drapes, not expecting much, looked out at the view and CHUNNNNNGGG!!!!! It was one of the most spectacular sites I’d ever seen.  The day was bright and sunny, and before me was one of the most perfect lakes I have ever seen: a gorgeous sheet of blue, smooth, inviting water disappearing over the horizon, where it was walled in by the snow-topped volcano Mt Ruapehu which had a cloud of steam rising from near its summit.

And that’s Lake Taupo for you, created by the world’s largest volcanic eruption in the last 5,000 years.  Taupo itself is quite a nice small town which caters to the tourist trade very well.  One of the things you must do in Taupo is to catch a trout.  You can see these monsters staring at you in the shallows of the many streams.  New Zealand’s largest river, the Waikato flows into Lake Taupo, and close by, on the river is the Huka Falls, which can be accessed by foot, bike, car, riverboat, jet boat or helicopter. New Zealander’s seem to find it hard to confine themselves to just one form of transport.

The results of Lake Taupo’s earth shattering creation can be seen everywhere with active volcanoes, spectacular steaming cliffs, geysers, boiling lakes, bubbling mud pools and floating rocks called pumice.

The Lake itself is excellent for fishing and sailing, but this being New Zealand, you can also try a bit of jet boating, white water rafting, diving and swimming.

Or, you can just go for a drive and do some sightseeing.  When I was riding around the island, I found myself stopping often.  Very often, in fact, simply because I’d come around a corner and the view before me was utterly spectacular.  I had to stop to simply enjoy the view.  It’s just that sort of place, scenically significant.

It doesn’t look like the Amazing Views Motel is there anymore, or if it is it has been remodelled and changed its name, but there is plenty of accommodation available from motels to resorts to holiday homes to camping. It’s all there depending on your budget and your required comfort level.

Taupo is on the crossroads of two main highways, so is easy to reach by car.  Most people who visit New Zealand these days seem to opt for the self-drive type of holiday. But if you don’t drive, or prefer other means of transport, there are many coach services which stop there.  If you wish to fly there are daily flights from both Auckland and Wellington.

Many people believe that New Zealand’s best scenery is viewed on the South Island, and whilst there are some awe inspiring views there, don’t discount Lake Taupo as a worthwhile place to visit as it is just a superb place to see and experience.

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