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.
Need to know
The Central Plateau
Named for nearby Tongariro National Park, this tiny outpost lies at the junction of SH4 and SH47, 15km from the hub of Whakapapa Village. In ski season the township is packed, but in summer it’s sleepy – despite being a great base for activities in and around the park.
Taupo Adventure Combo: Jet Boat Ride, Helicopter Flight, Scenic Cruise and Whitewater Rafting
Take this action-packed challenge in Taupo that will have you experiencing the best of the North Island’s great outdoors from the water and sky! A choice of four adrenaline-charged adventures (packaged in three combo ...
Tongariro National Park
Established in 1887, Tongariro was NZ’s first and the world’s fourth national park, and is one of NZ’s three World Heritage Sites. Its three towering, active volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro – rise from a vast, scrub-covered alpine plateau, making this one of the nation's most spectacular locations.