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TAUPO

Taupo is a town in the central North Island of New Zealand. It lies at the northern end of Lake Taupo, at its outlet into the Waikato River. Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake by area, covering 616 square kilometres. It feeds the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest, with the water to run eight hydroelectric power stations. After leaving town, the river rushes through the tourist attractions of Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids. The Lake Taupo area is situated on a volcanic plateau. The lake, famed for its trout fishing and boating, fills the caldera of one of the largest super-volcanoes in the world, in a still active geological region.

There are many sights of interest in the Taupo region. Aratiatia Dam is the first dam in the Waikato Hydro power scheme. When the gates are opened daily, it causes the spectacular recreation of the Aratiatia Rapids. Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction located just to the north of town on the Waikato river. New Zealand’s largest river is forced between a narrow split in the bedrock.

There is no shortage of activities on offer in Taupo, be it an adrenaline rush or the more sedate. From the ever popular Bungy to Taupo being internationally known as a mecca for Skydiving, there is something for everyone. Taupo Bungy operates not far from the town centre at the Hell's Gate section of the Waikato River. The location is quite scenic and utilises a custom-built cantilever platform protruding from a cliff face over the river.

Being in the heart of the Taupo Volcanic Zone you don't have to travel far to encounter geothermal activity. Craters of the Moon is a few minutes drive north of town on Wairakei Road. It provides an otherworldly atmosphere and is easy to walk around. Ten minutes north of town also on Wairakei Road, the Wairakei steam field can be accessed by car and provides an insight into the tapping of the earth's heat for electricity generation. The 175MW Wairakei Power Station opened in 1958, the first geothermal plant in New Zealand and only the second commercial-scale geothermal plant in the world. Today, geothermal power stations in New Zealand produce 15 percent of the country's electricity requirements.

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