Photo of Lake Taupo

About Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is a spectacular lake, pretty much dead centre of North Island. It’s a well-established trout fishing, sailing and cycling destination, but Taupo, on its shores, is fast becoming a popular resort town for those who like their relaxation mixed in with a bit of adrenalin pumping adventuring. Some of the best places to stay on Lake Taupo are the quiet, old fishing lodges, but there are also various newer hotels springing up if you prefer things more modern. Most of our recommendations are located in and around Taupo, but we've discovered another couple of gems, one on the opposite side of the lake and the other by the Huka Falls.

Lake Taupo is actually a flooded volcanic caldera - for one of the world’s largest super-volcanoes. So it’s incredibly deep, and freezing cold, except for the few places where there are thermal springs coming up just by the shores.

Hot Water Beach, Acacia Bay and Whakaipo Bay are good spots for bathers, and you can actually swim right by Taupo. But if you’re boating, then the vast expanse of the lake and its numerous beautiful bays, beaches and coves, are your oyster.

There are plenty of different ways to enjoy the lake’s beauty, ranging from relaxing strolls along the shoreline, taking in the spectacular views, which on a clear day reach all the way to the snowy peaks of the Tongariro National Park, to jet skiing on the lake or rafting on the rapid-y Waikato River.

Lake Taupo also has a number of hot springs and thermal health spas around its shores, and just outside of Taupo you’ll find the dramatic splash and swirl that is Huka Falls.

Just beyond the lake, but still on its geothermal field, you’ll find the magical Craters of the Moon, a collection of steaming volcanic craters stained with sulphur and other colourful minerals, making them a sort of otherworldly experience. Every now and then the build-up of steam, heat and pressure under the ground reaches a point where there's a huge explosion of mud, and another blowhole and mud pool is born – some are up to 20 metres deep.

Don't forget to plan ahead if you want to book one of the best places to stay in Lake Taupo during New Zealand's summer months - it's a popular spot.

The Best Places to Stay in Lake Taupo

For a lakeside location

  • The Acacia Cliffs Lodge is a four room lodge set right on the Acacia cliffs, offering spectacular lake views. The rooms are neutral and modern, with floor to ceiling windows, and private terraces, to make the most of the view. You’re surrounded by two hectares worth of private garden.
  • Lake Taupo Lodge is also set very close to the lake, in three and a half acres of its own bushland. The six rooms are bright, comfortable and elegant with spa baths and private patios with lake views.

For sheer luxury

  • Huka Lodge is a charming 1920s built fishing lodge, just downstream of Lake Taupo, but right on the river. The lodge itself has been converted into a luxurious hotel, but there are also a range of suites and self-catering cottages in the 17 acres of garden. The decor and details are all indulgent, but you’re in the perfect spot for some adventuring.
  • Kinloch Manor is a luxurious retreat by Lake Taupo with impeccable spa facilities and delicious locally sourced or home-grown cuisine. Boasting a stunning 18-hole golf course and tennis court, there's something for everyone!

For an intimate hideaway

  • Whakaipo Lodge is situated just outside Taupo in the Mapara Valley. With only two charming bedrooms, both with french windows out to a private terrace, it's perfect for a cosy getaway. Gourmet breakfast is included in the rate and the hosts can provide a four course dinner with accompanying NZ wines by arrangement.

For the activities

  • Poronui Lodge is a luxury sporting lodge. Guest accommodation is spread across the Lodge, Blake House private villa and the Safari Camp, offering spectacular river views. There's a huge range of activities on offer here, from mountain biking to fly fishing and shooting

For families

  • River Birches Lodge is a boutique lodge offering accommodation on the southern edge of Lake Taupo. Contemporary, well-appointed guestrooms are cosy and relaxing, with understated, luxury interiors; the self-contained cottage is perfect for families.

For An Apartment

  • If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • The best time to visit Lake Taupo is during the summer months, from November to February, when the temperature can climb to the mid-20s celsius. However, this is also when it's busiest, so if you want to avoid the crowds then consider coming in autumn - when the weather's still perfectly pleasant and the natural surroundings are a variety of lovely colours.
  • Visitors can fly into Taupo Airport, served daily by direct flights from Auckland Airport. Or, you could take the InterCity bus from Auckland, Hamilton or Wellington to Lake Taupo. From the airport, a shuttle meets every scheduled flight and provides passengers with a door to door service!
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure which to book?


Monthly Weather in Lake Taupo

Best Hotels in Lake Taupo

  • Whakaipo Lodge Taupo, Lake Taupo 2 rooms from £158

    Groups  -  With just two rooms this is a good option to book out in its entirety for small groups
    Eco break  -  A carbon neutral stay - this is the perfect choice for the eco-conscious
    Country Escape  -  A secluded and scenic spot set close to Taupo and the lake
    Sailing  -  Take a boat trip across Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater lake in Australasia
    Air conditioningGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    A charming two-bed boutique lodge set in a secluded spot in Mapara Valley. Managed by its ever-friendly owners, expect a homely stay. Ground floor rooms are bright and airy with french doors opening onto private terraces. With plenty of outdoor pursuits nearby, this is a lovely rural escape. See More

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  • Acacia Cliffs Lodge Lake Taupo 4 rooms from £241

    Birdwatching  -  In 2 hectare garden species include tuis, bellbirds, fantails
    Views  -  Of Lake Taupo, Mount Tauhara and the Kaimanawa Ranges
    Great walks  -  Mapara Native Bush Track
    Local markets  -  Maori cultural tours

    Boutique and intimate lodge with stunning location on Acacia cliffs ensuring great views over sparkling Lake Taupo. Four neutral-toned modern suites, with floor to ceiling glass windows, tiled bathrooms and private terraces. Two hectare garden with varied birdlife. Close to Mapara Native Bush Track. See More

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  • Lake Taupo Lodge Acacia Bay, Lake Taupo 6 rooms from £288

    Views  -  Overlooking Lake Taupo and the mountains
    Sights nearby  -  Geothermal parks, Waitomo Caves
    Lakeside  -  Lake Taupo
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    GardenViewsNo pets

    Luxury lodge set in three and a half acres of wild bush on North Island's Lake Taupo. Bright, spacious and elegant suites with king size comfy beds and spa baths, private patios and great lake views. Close to Taupo volcanic hot springs, great fly fishing and Waitomo Caves. See More

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  • River Birches Lodge Turangi, Lake Taupo 4 rooms from £466

    Families  -  With a self-catering cottage available for exclusive hire, this hotel has great options for family accommodation
    Local exploring  -  Set on the banks of Lake Tongariro, there is plenty to explore local to this hotel, from fishing to hiking
    Romantic Break  -  With a tranquil setting and charming guestrooms, book this hotel for a romantic riverside break
    Fishing  -  Go fly fishing on the river during your stay; staff at the hotel can organise everything you need, from equipment to guides
    Air conditioningGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    This boutique lodge offers accommodation on the southern edge of Lake Taupo. Contemporary, well-appointed guestrooms are cosy and relaxing, with understated, luxury interiors; the self-contained cottage is perfect for groups. Enjoy fly fishing on the lake during your stay. See More

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  • Poronui Lodge Taupo, Lake Taupo 11 rooms from £503

    Families  -  All the packages available at the hotel are child-friendly and can be offered without parent supervision, great for families
    Country Escape  -  Set in a beautiful natural setting on a plateau above the Taharua River, this hotel makes a unique escape to the country
    Active Holiday  -  This hotel has a huge range of activities on offer, from mountain biking to fly fishing and shooting
    Great walks  -  Explore the trails surrounding the hotel on a guided walk, learning about the indigenous flora and fauna
    SpaRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    This luxury sporting lodge is located in Taharua Valley on New Zealand’s North Island. Guest accommodation is spread across the Lodge, Blake House private villa and the Safari Camp, offering spectacular river views. Take a fly fishing trip after walking the many country trails. See More

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  • Kinloch Manor Lake Taupo 20 rooms from £613

    Local exploring  -  Explore the nearby national park on day hikes past active volcanoes
    Active Holiday  -  Practice golf or tennis at the on-site golf course and court
    Foodies  -  Delicious, local farm-to-table cuisine
    Great walks  -  Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for spectacular volcanic scenery, ice-cold mountain springs and jewel-toned lakes
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    A luxurious retreat by Lake Taupo with impeccable spa facilities and delicious locally sourced or home-grown grub. Charming rooms feature pastel hues, gorgeous contemporary bathrooms and wonderful views. Boasting a stunning 18-hole golf course and tennis court- something for everyone! See More

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  • Huka Lodge Lake Taupo 25 rooms from £1102

    Spa  -  In-room spa treatments available
    Fishing  -  40 rivers and streams nearby
    Swimming Pool  -  Swimming and spa pools
    Sights nearby  -  Huka Falls
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors

    Charming and atmospheric 1920s fishing lodge-turned-luxury hotel with range of suites and self-catering cottages. Seventeen acre garden, open fireplaces, antique-filled rooms and private dining venues. Close to trout fishing. Perfect for the adventurous traveller seeking indulgence. See More

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