Taupo (//; Māori pronunciation: [ˈtoʊpɔː]; officially Taupō) is a town on the shore of Lake Taupo, which occupies the caldera of the Taupo Volcano in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat of the Taupo District Council and lies in the southern Waikato Region.
|Territorial authority||Taupō District|
|Named for||originates from Taupō-nui-a-Tia, meaning "great cloak of Tia" in Māori|
|• Mayor||David Trewavas|
|• Urban||132.57 km2 (51.19 sq mi)|
|• District||6,970 km2 (2,690 sq mi)|
|Elevation||360 m (1,180 ft)|
|• Urban density||190/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
|Local iwi||Ngāti Tūwharetoa|
Taupo has a population of 24,700 (June 2018). In 1953, Taupo was officially constituted as a borough, but from 1989 it has been administered by the Taupo District Council, the district including both Taupo itself and the surrounding hinterland. Despite this, it is occasionally referred to as a city. It is the 20th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the second-largest in the Waikato Region (behind Hamilton).
The name Taupo, by which the town is commonly known, is the shortened version of its Māori name, Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Literally translated, Taupō-nui-a-Tia means "The great cloak of Tia"; the explorer Tia discovered the lake.
Taupo is located at the outlet of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, in the northeast part of the lake where it discharges to the Waikato River. The river flows over the spectacular Huka Falls, a short distance north of the town. Taupo is a centre of volcanic and geothermal activity and hot springs suitable for bathing are located at several places in the vicinity. The volcanic Mount Tauhara lies six kilometres (4 mi) to the east.
Somewhat to the northeast are significant hot springs. These springs contain extremophile micro-organisms that live in extremely hot environments.
Taupo is situated on a stretch of State Highway 1, running concurrently with State Highway 5. It is situated 53 km north of Turangi. It is one of the few centres in New Zealand that was never linked to the rail network.
- Inner suburbs
Taupo neighbourhoods include:
- Wharewaka – is a popular swimming spot for locals and has a growing new subdivision along with a large retirement village.
- Nukuhau – lies north of the Waikato River. To the south west lies Acacia Bay and to the south lies Taupo town centre.
- Richmond Heights – lies to the east of Rainbow Point and south of Mountain View. It is home to the Richmond Heights shopping center.
- Waipahihi – lies to the north of Richmond Heights. It is home to the Waipahihi Primary School, and the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens.
- Mount View
- Acacia Bay
- Rainbow Point – lies north of Wharewaka and west of Richmond Heights. To the west lies Lake Taupo.
- Tauhara – lies just north of Hilltop and east of Mount View. Mount Tauhara lies just east of Tauhara. Tauhara is the location of Tauhara primary school, Tauhara College and Tauhara Golf course.
- Hilltop – lies south of Tauhara. Hilltop is the location of Hilltop School, Taupo Intermediate School, the Taupo Hospital, the Taharepa shopping centre and the Hilltop shopping centre.
- Taupo CBD
- Five Mile Bay – is located on the east side of Lake Taupo, south of Wharewaka and north of Waitahanui on State Highway 1 just west of the Taupo Airport. It is a popular swimming/water skiing beach which gets very busy in summer. Five Mile Bay is one of three similar named bays along the lake shoreline, the others being Two Mile Bay and Three Mile Bay.
- Outer suburbs
The climate of Taupo is cold and windy when compared to other parts of the North Island. This is due to the town being located inland, which results in the accumulation of dry air causing severe frost during winter. However snowfall in Taupo is rare. The summer climate in Taupo is mild with maximum average temperature reaching 23 degrees and a minimum average temperature of 10 degrees.
|Climate data for Taupo|
|Average high °C (°F)||22.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.0
|Average low °C (°F)||11.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||77.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||7.7||6.7||7.3||7.4||8.7||10.9||10.9||11.4||10.7||10.6||8.2||9.2||109.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||224.3||202.6||179.7||156.3||126.3||96.1||116.5||134.6||140.0||179.6||190.4||204.6||1,950.9|
|Source: NIWA Climate Data|
Taupo is a tourist centre, particularly in the summer, as it offers panoramic views over the lake and to the volcanic mountains of Tongariro National Park to the south. It offers a number of tourist activities including sky diving, jet boating, paragliding, and bungy jumping.
Taupo services a number of surrounding plantation pine forests including Kaingaroa Forest, the largest manmade forest in the world, and related industry. A large sawmill is sited approximated 3 km to the north east of the town on Centennial Drive.
Taupo is surrounded by seven geothermal power stations including the historic Wairakei geothermal power station a few kilometres north of the town.
Taupo has four high schools: Tauhara College, Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, Maori immersion Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whakarewa i Te Reo ki Tuwharetoa and state integrated Lake Taupo Christian School. It also has Wairakei, St Patrick's, Waipahihi, Hilltop, Mount View, Taupo and Tauhara primary schools, and Taupo Intermediate School.
Since the mid-1990s Taupo has been a venue for major sporting events, sometimes of an international nature. Major events in Taupo include:
The International Mountain Bicycling Association has designated the mountain biking trails at Bike Taupō as a silver-level IMBA Ride Center. Ride Centers are the IMBA's strongest endorsement of a trail experience.
Taupo is served by State Highway 1 and State Highway 5, and the Thermal Explorer Highway touring route. All three highways run concurrently along the Eastern Taupo Arterial, which was built in 2010.
Taupo is one of the few large towns in New Zealand that have never had a link to the national rail network, although there have been proposals in the past.
Taupo is twinned with:
- "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- "Taupo". Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966).
- "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
- "Introducing the 2012 Model Trail Awards Winners; International Mountain Bicycling Association". Imba.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Pocahontas State Park to Develop Regional Biking Center – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Outdoor Recreation In Richmond And Central Virginia". Richmond.com. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Taupo reflects on bypass road success | NZNews | Newshub". 3news.co.nz. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Sounds Air Flying Wellington to Taupo". Great Lake Taupō. Retrieved 15 June 2016.