Taupo, New Zealand, about 175 mi/280 km southeast of Auckland, is a beautiful region of lakes and mountains on the North Island and an important site of geothermal activity. Waiotopu and Orakeikorako thermal reserves (both about halfway between Lake Taupo—the country's largest lake—and Rotorua) are among the best places to see steam vents and active geysers.

Near Taupo city, you can visit the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station, admire the awesome, thundering Huka Falls or walk around Craters of the Moon Park. You can take a cruise on Lake Taupo (it's renowned for trout fishing, claimed by some to be the world's best) or a scenic flight over Mount Tongariro.

Dozens of tourism operators offer a variety of activities in and around Taupo, ranging from the sedate to the extreme. Taupo is also known as the events capital of New Zealand, with an almost constantly revolving calendar of sports, cultural and community celebrations.

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's oldest and most popular national park, has two highly active volcanoes. In winter, you can ski there, and in summer the ski lifts are used by hikers. Tongariro National Park is home to the Tongariro Crossing, one of the country's most popular hikes.

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