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Introduction

Taupo is a town on the shore of Lake Taupo in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat of the Taupo District Council and lies in the southern Waikato Region.

Taupo has a population of about 24,000. In 1953, Taupo was officially constituted as a borough, but from 1989 it has been administered by the Taupo District Council, the district including both Taupo itself and the surrounding hinterland. Despite this, it is occasionally referred to as a city. It is the 20th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the second-largest in the Waikato Region (behind Hamilton).

The name Taupo, by which the town is commonly known, is the shortened version of its full name, Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Literally translated from Māori language, Taupō-nui-a-Tia means "The great cloak of Tia", where Tia is the name of the discoverer of the lake.

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Sights and Activities

Lake Taupo

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 climate of Taupo is cold and windy when compared to other parts of the North Island. This is due to the town being located inland, which results in the accumulation of dry air causing severe frost during winter. However snowfall in Taupo is rare. The summer climate in Taupo is mild with maximum average temperature reaching 23 °C and a minimum average temperature of 10 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights to/from Auckland and Wellington.

By Car

Taupo is served by State Highway 1 and State Highway 5, and the Thermal Explorer Highway touring route. All three highways run concurrently along the Eastern Taupo Arterial, which was built in 2010. SH 5 diverts east on the Napier-Taupo Road. Before this SH 1 and SH 5 began concurrently from Wairakei in the north, along Tongariro Street and Lake Terrace.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Base Taupo7 Tuwharetoa Street TaupoHOSTEL81
Berkenhoff Lodge75 Scannell StreetHOSTEL85
Silver Fern LodgeTamamutu StreetHOSTEL84
Taupo Urban Retreat65 Heu Heu Street TaupoHOSTEL85
Tiki Lodge104 Tuwharetoa St TaupoHostel85
YHA Taupo56 Kaimanawa Street TaupoHostel-
Colonial Lodge Motel134 Lake TerraceHostel-
Lake Maraetai Lodge5 Totara Terrace MangakinoHostel-
Baywater Motor Inn126 Lake Terrace PO Box 962Hotel-
Astro Accommodation Taupo76 Kaimanawa StreetApartment-
Taupo DeBrettsTaupo 103 Napier/Taupo HighwayCampsite-
Tony's Lodge313 State Highway 1 Te RangiitaGuesthouse-
Blackcurrant Backpackers20 Taniwha Street TaupoHostel86
Bradshaw's Travel Lodge130 Heuheu StreetHOSTEL86
Rainbow Lodge Backpackers99 Titiraupenga St, TaupoHOSTEL84
Finns Global Backpackers & BarCorner Tuwharetoa & Tongariro Streets, Taupo PO Box 852HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.

Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.

Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.

  • Telecom operates a UMTS (3G) network, named XT Network, nationwide on 850MHz with supplementary 2100MHz in metropolitan areas. (the same frequencies as Telstra in Australia and AT&T in the U.S.)
  • Vodafone operates a GSM network on 900MHz/2100 MHz and a UTMS (3G) network operates nationwide 900MHz with supplementary 2100MHz coverage.
  • 2degrees operates a UMTS (3G) network (2100MHz) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with supplementary GSM coverage provided elsewhere by Vodafone.

A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.

Post

Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Taupo Travel Helpers

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This is version 9. Last edited at 7:58 on May 30, 16 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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