LivingTravelHistory of Lake Taupo: Facts and Figures for the...

History of Lake Taupo: Facts and Figures for the Curious Traveler

New Zealand’s Lake Taupo, touted by travel marketers as nature’s best playground, is located in the middle of the North Island, about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland, and a four-and-a-half hour drive. from Wellington. The country’s largest freshwater lake draws water skiers, sailors, and kayakers, but fishing tops the list of favorite outdoor activities for many visitors.

Lake Taupo by the numbers

Lake Taupo covers 238 square miles (616 square kilometers), making it roughly the size of Singapore. It is the largest lake in the country and is nearly twice the size of Lake Te Anau on the South Island, New Zealand’s next largest (133 square miles / 344 square kilometers). It is much larger than the next largest lake on the North Island, Lake Rotorua (31 square miles / 79 square kilometers).

Lake Taupo stretches 29 miles (46 kilometers) long by 21 miles (33 kilometers) wide, with 120 miles (193 kilometers) of shoreline. The maximum length is 29 miles (46 kilometers) and the maximum width is 21 miles (33 kilometers). Average depth is 360 feet (110 meters). The maximum depth is 610 feet (186 meters). The volume of water is 14 cubic miles (59 cubic kilometers).

Formation and history of Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo fills the caldera left by a massive volcanic eruption 26,500 years ago. In the last 26,000 years, there have been 28 major eruptions, occurring between 50 and 5,000 years apart. The most recent eruption occurred about 1,800 years ago.

Taupo gets its name as the shortened version of its correct name, Taupo-nui-a-Tia . This is translated from Maori as “Tia’s great cloak.” It refers to an incident when the first Maori chief and explorer noticed some unusual colored cliffs along the lake shore that resembled his cape. He named the cliffs ” Taupo-nui-a-Tia”, and the abbreviated form later became the name of the lake and the city.

Lake Taupo Fishing and Hunting

Lake Taupo and the surrounding rivers are New Zealand’s premier freshwater fishing destination. With the world’s largest natural trout fishery in the city of Turangi, this is an internationally known trout fishing destination; You can cast a fly in the lake and surrounding rivers. The main fish species are brown trout and rainbow trout, introduced to the lake in 1887 and 1898, respectively. The rules of the fishery prevent you from buying fish caught there. However, you can ask a local restaurant to cook your catch for you.

The forests and mountainous areas around the lake offer many hunting opportunities. Animals include wild pigs, goats, and deer. To fish or hunt near Taupo, you must purchase a fishing license or hunting permit.

Lake Taupo surroundings

At the northern end of Lake Taupo, you can visit Taupo Township (23,000 residents) and find the lake’s main outlet, the Waikato River. Interestingly, it takes around 10 and a half years from the moment a drop of water enters the lake until it exits through the mouth of the Waikato River.

In the extreme south is the municipality of Turangi, listed as the trout fishing capital of New Zealand. Further south is Tongariro National Park, one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in New Zealand and the country’s first national park. Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe dominate the horizon at the southern end of the lake. You can see them clearly from the municipality of Taupo.

On the east side is the Kaimanawa Forest Park and the Kaimanawa Ranges. This is a huge forest of beech trees, bushes and original shrubs. The park was also the setting for the Black Gate of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. (Read about Lord of the Rings tours and locations on the South Island.)

To the west of the lake is the Pureora Conservation Park, an important habitat for rare native birds.

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