After the visit to Tongariro National Park, we went straight north to Lake Taupo, this lake is on the North Island of New Zealand. It is in the caldera of the Taupo Volcano.
With a surface area of 616 square kilometers, it is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand, and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area in geopolitical Oceania.
Lake Taupo has a perimeter of approximately 193 kilometers and the deepest point of 186 meters. It is drained by the Waikato River (New Zealand’s longest river). We pass the night arriving at Lake Taupo, we stay in the waterfront looking at the lake in a very quiet campsite.
The best free activity is a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs that the Great Lake Taupo region is so famous for – thanks to the geothermal activity bubbling away underground.
So the next morning we decided to find out where the Waikato River hot water pools were, there are many hot water pools around the north island, and there are many that are completely free! We spend the morning relaxing in this very very hot water, the temperature was very high, so we had to swim to the lake sometimes to get cold.
After our morning spa, we drove to The Huka Falls which are the largest falls on the Waikato River, in comparison with the rest of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo in New Zealand. The volume of water flowing through is astonishing, and as the wheater was nice and sunny the water looked crystal clear blue.
Later we went to visit Aratiatia Dam and rapids, at the Aratiatia Rapids, the Waikato River falls 28 meters in the space of one kilometer. The surging rapids have been harnessed to produce environmentally sustainable hydroelectric power.
To view the Aratiatia Rapids gradually filling up, we arrived a few minutes before the dam is due to release. But that day there was not open, so we walk to the three lookout points on the high rock bluffs that overlook the river.