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Lake Taupo

Photo © katiejason

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand North Island Lake Taupo

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Introduction

Lake Taupo is a lake situated in the North Island of New Zealand. It lies in the caldera of the Taupo Volcano. With a surface area of 616 square kilometres, it is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand, and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area in geopolitical Oceania after Lake Murray (Papua New Guinea). Motutaiko Island lies in the southeast area of the lake.

Lake Taupo has a perimeter of approximately 193 kilometres and a deepest point of 186 metres. It is drained by the Waikato River (New Zealand's longest river), while its main tributaries are the Waitahanui River, the Tongariro River, and the Tauranga Taupo River. It is a noted trout fishery with stocks of introduced brown and rainbow trout.

Lake Taupo lies in a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago. According to geological records, the volcano has erupted 28 times in the last 27,000 years. It has ejected mostly rhyolitic lava, although Mount Tauhara formed from dacitic lava.
The volcano is currently considered to be dormant rather than extinct because of moderate fumarole activity and hot springs along the shores of the lake.

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Weather

The lake area has a temperate climate. Daily maximum temperatures recorded for Taupo range from an average of 23.3 °C in January and February to 11.2 °C in July, while the nighttime minimum temperatures range from 11.6 °C in February down to 2.2 °C in July. Rain falls in all seasons but is greatest in winter and spring, from June to December.

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Sights and Activities

Skydiving is a popular local sport and tourist attraction.

On the north west side of Lake Taupo on the cliffs of Mine Bay, there are Māori rock carvings created in the late 1970s by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and John Randall. Carved in likeness of Ngatoroirangi, a navigator who guided the Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to the Taupo area over a thousand years ago according to Māori legend. The 10-metre-high carving is intended to protect Lake Taupo from volcanic activities underneath. The cliff has become a popular tourist destination with hundreds of boats and yachts visiting the spot daily.

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Events and Festivals

Taupo hosts the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, a cycling tour around the lake which can take anywhere between four and ten hours. Hundreds of volunteers from the Taupo township are involved in the event. Taupo also hosts the Kellogg's Iron Man event.

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 1. Last edited at 8:12 on May 10, 16 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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