to Lake Taupo
about everywhere you look you'll see a volcano.
The most serene is Lake Taupo itself, created
by an eruption so big the sun went hazy in China.
At the southern end of the Lake is one of the
world's most spectacular parks - Tongariro National
Park. It is one of only 20 places in the world
to have been awarded dual World Heritage status
as both a natural and cultural icon. Ruapehu erupted
in 1996, putting on a spectacular fireworks display
that made world news. But its rumblings have long
since stopped and once again thousands of skiers
and snow boarders flock here in winter.
summer the Park is just as spectacular. The Tongariro
Crossing is now recognised as New Zealand¹s
best one-day hike. But a lot less strenuous way
to work up an appetite is to take a chairlift
2000 metres up the Whakapapa ski area to lunch
at New Zealand¹s highest restaurant.
region is one of the last true wild trout fisheries
left in the world. It's now over 100 years since
the first trout were released here. Today anglers
flock from around the world to fish for "rainbows"
and "browns". The record is a little
over 8kg (17.6lb)!
Taupo itself is the largest freshwater lake in
Australasia. Water sports are naturally very big
here and boats of every kind are available for
charter. Here you really are far from the maddening
crowds. You can also tandem sky dive or bungy
jump with the mighty Waikato River 45 metres below.
Then try jet boating right up to the foot of thundering
Huka Falls. 300,000 litres of water hurtle through
this narrow chasm every second.
options include 4x4 motorbiking, horse trekking,
aerobatics in a biplane, white water rafting,
kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, waterskiing,
parasailing, mountain biking forest trails, rock
climbing or abseiling.
are six golf courses in the region including the
magnificent Wairakei International Golf Course.
Or spend a few hours soaking in hot mineral springs
that have been soothing weary souls for centuries.
Taupo has a smorgasbord of eating-out choices,
from world class lodges to fine New Zealand home
style cooking. Even the coffee tastes better -
call into any of the many sunny, outdoor cafés
and enjoy a cappuccino served with fresh air,
not traffic fumes.
here is easy - Lake Taupo is around half way between
Auckland and Wellington. The two main towns are
Taupo at the northern end of the Lake and Turangi
at the southern end. A forty five-minute drive
separates these two towns.
& figures on the District - Altitude
& figures on the District - Lake Taupo
nautical miles (46 km)
nautical miles (33 km)
nautical miles (193 km)
hectares (600 sq km, 150,000 acres)
above sea level
(chart datum) 355.85 m
186.84 m (102.2 fathoms) below chart datum.
Average 110 m (60.1 fathoms)
Summer average 18.0�C (up to 25�C in the
shallows in summer)
first made a dent on the world stage in around
186 AD. It began its fiery evolution 300,000 years
ago, then 2000 years ago the Western Shore was
formed in a bang that covered some 20,000 square
miles creating a �deadlands� swept by dust storms,
with the 186 bang finally creating the lake.
a cataclysmic eruption, the 186 bang blew a 660
square kilometre hole in the earth and send the
ash over a huge area � the Chinese noticed it
and even mighty Rome enjoyed dazzling sunsets
as a result. There�ll be fireworks again tonight
at the boat harbour to mark the end of the old
and beginning of the new millennium. Once the
fiery birth was done, vegetation recovered and
the first Maori from the 13th century.
first entered the tourism trade in around 1845
when travellers crossed from Maketu on the east
coast on their way to Wellington. George F. Angus
painted various local scenes in around 1844, and
missionaries became interested in the region in
the mid 1830�s with the first service held at
Hallets Bay in 1843. The first church was established
at Motutere by an American, Seymour Spencer, ordained
as a deacon by Bishop Selwyn. Ferdinand Ritter
von Hochstetter visited in 1859 to record points
of geological interest.
travel began in 1874 with the 60 foot steamer
Victoria. It blossomed along with the visitor
numbers in the 1880s with the building of the
Tauhara and in 1899 Tongariro until the 1920s
when visitors were ferried to Waihi to continue
by coach to Wellington. The opening of the road
between Taupo and Turangi killed off the lake
boat link, but created recreational boating instead.
trout arrived in 1885, released by Major David
Scannell of the Armed Constabulary. Rainbow trout
were released by Forestina and Malcolm Ross in
1898. By the 1900s word had spread and Lake Taupo
was recording catches of 20 pounds and attracting
more and more keen fishermen.
1891 Taupo town�s population was 56, the entire
district was around 400. Taupo town had a post
office, telegraph office (first built in 1871),
postal savings bank, three hotels, a school, police
station and a town hall. Travellers recorded seeing:
�Pumice, nothing but pumice."
the Taupo Volcano
The vast and scenic Lake Taupo is not always recognised
as a volcano, yet it has had a fiery and violent
history. It has erupted 28 times in the past 27,000
years. Although most of these eruptions were small,
the most recent -- the Taupo eruption of 181AD
-- was extremely large and violent.
shape of Lake Taupo was largely created by the
Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago. This eruption
formed a 500m-deep caldera (large collapsed crater)
that was enlarged by the 181AD Taupo eruption.
26,500 year-old and 181AD eruptions were extraordinarily
complex and violent, and they have attracted interest
from scientists internationally. The other 26
eruptions in between were small, many not much
larger than a typical Mt Ruapehu eruption.
is a caldera volcano?
There are two very different types of volcano
-- cones and calderas. Cone volcanoes generate
many small eruption eruptions from the same site.
An example is Mt Ruapehu which has been erupting
almost continuously for about 260,000 years. The
amount of ash and lava they erupt is usually between
0.001 to 0.2km3 . The many frequent eruptions
from cone volcanoes result in the accumulation
of large volumes of volcanic debris close to the
vent producing steep-sided cones like Ruapehu,
Egmont, and Ngauruhoe.
volcanoes such as Taupo produce larger and less
frequent eruptions. Sometimes their eruptions
are as large as 50km3 or even bigger, and form
new caldera structures. Other eruptions are smaller
and contained within the existing caldera like
many of Taupo's eruptions over the past 20,000
years. These small eruptions are typically between
0.5 and 10km3. Caldera-forming eruptions drain
the magma reservoir beneath the volcano, causing
the ground to collapse, so that the eruption forms
a depression in the earth's surface. New Zealand's
two most active caldera volcanoes are Taupo and
Okataina (which last erupted from Mt Tarawera
in 1886, killing 108 people).
181AD Taupo eruption is unusual in several ways.
it produced an eruption column 50km high -- twice
as high as the 1980 Mt St Helens eruption column
it was the most violent eruption in the world
in the past 5000 years
the effects of the eruption were seen in the sky
as far away as Europe and China
the eruption devastated an area now populated
by over 200,000 people
if the same eruption occurred today, ashfall and
other debris would cause chaos from Hamilton to
Palmerston North, and buildings in Rotorua and
Gisborne could be damaged or destroyed.