Not only New Zealand’s largest lake, but the second largest in all of Australasia, the vast Lake Taupo is the aquatic heart of New Zealand’s North Island. The 606-square-kilometer lake lies in the caldera of an ancient volcano that erupted over 26,000 years ago and is surrounded by one of the country’s largest geothermal areas, dotted with bubbling mud pools and eerie lava-rock ravines.

While geyser spotting and soaking in thermal pools are popular pastimes for visitors to the lakeside city of Taupo, the lake itself also offers an abundance of tourist activities. Make the most of the warm waters at the beaches and swimming areas dotted around the lake; take to the water in a boat or kayak; or try your hand at windsurfing and jet boating on the lake or the Waikato River. You don’t have to get wet to take in views of the lake either – the Taupo region is a hotspot for adventure activities so pluck up some courage and take to the skies for a helicopter ride, paragliding tour, skydiving excursion or a water-brushing bungee jump.

Lake Taupo is also renowned as one of the world’s trout fishing capitals, with large schools of brown trout and rainbow trout residing in the waters. The lake is famous for its annual international trout-fishing tournament held on Anzac Day and tourists can get in on the action too, with a number of options for trout-fishing cruises.

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