Taupo, North Island

Taupo and Central Plateau

Lake Taupo New Zealand

Central Plateau New Zealand

Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand

Welcome to Taupo and Central Plateau

Taupo

Walks and Parks

Walks & Parks

Get Outdoors!

Discover the region's walks, parks, beaches, lakes or rivers.

Taupo is located at the north east of Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater lake in Australasia.  To most New Zealanders, Taupo is a big, beautiful lake. To geologists, it’s one of the world’s most formidable volcanoes – a caldera.  A caldera is a huge volcanic depression created when the ground collapses after a massive eruption. Over 26,000 years ago Taupo exploded in the biggest volcanic eruption the world has known in the last 70,000 years – the Oruanui eruption. Much of the central North Island was buried in up to 200 metres of debris!

Nowadays the laid back lakeside town is an awesome family holiday spot, with warm lake swimming and beautiful beaches – evidence of its volcanic nature are clear though, as you dig the sand and find hot water below!  You can also scout the pebble beaches for your very own natural pumice to take away!  You can learn more by visiting local thermal mud pools and the exciting Craters of the Moon active geothermal field.  Exploring the lake by boat or kayak is a must-do, as is checking out the incredible Huka Falls and Aratiatia dam, while the world’s only geothermal prawn farm can be found on the Huka Falls Road.

Mount Ruapehu, Central Plateau or Volcanic Plateau

To the south of Lake Taupo is the Tongaririo National Park – with three active volcanic mountains it’s NZ’s main area of volcanic activity!

Mount Ruapehu - is the highest mountain in the North Island, with a volcanic crater lake at its summit and Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields on its slopes.

Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe form part of the famous one-day hike; the Tongariro Crossing.  It’s not technically difficult but it is a very long day, and not recommended with younger children.  However it is part of one of NZ’s great walks with good reason!

Ohakune

Ohakune is a great base for those going to the Turoa ski area and is where you will find most of the hotels, restaurants and shops when you need a break from the slopes. There is always lots going on in Ohakune during the winter to keep all the family entertained, including the annual Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras in June and the famous Carrot Carnival.   Ohakune also makes a great summer base, being just minutes from the Tongariro National Park and only an hour from Taupo.

Whakapapa Village

Whakapapa is your closest base for access to Whakapapa ski area and provides a variety of accommodation including the famous and historic Chateau.  Otherwise you can stay on the main highway at nearby National Park Village; NZ’s highest urban township!

Map of New Zealand
  • Queenstown
  • Northland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Wanaka
  • Fiordland
  • Taupo
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • North Canterbury
  • Waikato
  • Hawkes Bay
  • South Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Rotorua
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Taranaki
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Southland
  • Central Otago
  • Dunedin
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.