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Introducing Taupo & the Central Plateau

Don’t think for a minute that this plateau is some boring old elevated flat landmass (which is what the dictionary will tell you), because this place rocks. For a starter, it ain’t flat. In the middle of the plateau and the heart of Tongariro National Park are the three massive peaks of Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, all sitting like something from another planet. Then there’s New Zealand’s largest lake, Taupo, a vast, water-filled crater, the legacy of a volcanic blast that shattered the island and shook up the world more than 26, 500 years ago. And the area is still active, with Mt Ruapehu often having a hissy fit, the last blast in 2007. This is all part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, a line of geothermal surfacings that stretches to White Island via Rotorua.

But the drama doesn’t stop there, for this area now rivals Rotorua for spectacular back-to- nature activities and daredevil escapades. Perhaps you fancy fly-fishing in the world-class Tongariro River, hooning up to Huka Falls in a jetboat, or bouncing on a bungy over the Waikato River? Or maybe this is your chance to skydive. If rambling’s your thing, there’s always Tongariro Northern Circuit, one of NZ’s most achievable Great Walks, or the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, touted as one of the world’s top one-dayers. Then again, you could wait until winter, when the mountains are dusted with snow: there’s top skiing at Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields.

From mountain high to plateau low, and out on the luscious lake, this place is gonna float your boat.