Lake Taupo Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Lake Taupo is New Zealandís largest lake, with an area
of 600 sq kilometres. The origins of the Lake date back to 186 AD
when a massive eruption blasted 100 cubic kilometres of debris into
the air (compare with Mt St. Helens at 1cu km, and Krakatoa at 18cu
km). These subterranean forces are still simmering today and can be
seen breaking through the earths crust at nearby thermal reserves
such as the Craters of the Moon and at Whakarewarewa where there is
a geo thermal power generation complex.
Taupo is famous for its trout fishing
where up to 400 tonnes a year is caught, at an average fish weight
of 1.5 kg. Trout are bred at the Tongariro National Trout Hatchery
just south of Lake Taupo for release into New Zealand Lakes and also
for export to California. At the Huka Falls the mighty Waikato River
flows out of the Lake to start its 354km journey to the sea.
Tongariro National Park
The first National Park to be established
in New Zealand, and the fourth in the world, the park also holds World
Heritage area status. Maori had significant spiritual ties with the
mountains which contributed to its recognition as a conservation area.
Mt Tongariro stands at 1,967m and
consists of a group of extinct volcanic cones, the lava streams of
which have so overlapped in their descent that they have formed one
mountain mass at their base. From the Taupo Road, steam can be seen
rising from the Ketetahi Hot Springs on northern slope of the mountain.
The crater of Mt Ngauruhoe (2,287m)
is still active, steam and vapour at times issuing from it with considerable
force and noise. Its last major eruption was in 1954, when a series
of ash explosions culminated in a massive outflow of lava down the
western face, with molten lava being hurled more than 300 metres into
The snow-capped peak of Mt Ruapehu
(2,797m) is an easily recognised landmark. The mountainís apparent
tranquility is misleading, for Ruapehu is also an active volcano and
has a simmering crater lake whose rising level produced a lahar in
March 2007. This event was long anticipated by those monitoring the
There are a number of walks in the
National Park of varying lengths including the renowned Tongariro
Crossing. A traverse of Mount Tongariro that requires a good level
of fitness, sturdy footwear, some food and water, additional clothing
to allow for any unexpected changes in weather conditions and pre
arranged transport for this 7-8 hour trek (one way).