Around Lake Taupo
Scenic reserve and home of the Lake Track Cycle Trail
Situated on the northern shore of Lake Taupō between Acacia Bay and Whangamata Bay, you can access Whakaipo Bay from Mapara Road. This rural location is a beautiful scenic backdrop to Lake Taupō. There is a Girl Guide camp at Whakaipo Bay, and a scenic recreation reserve. As part of the New Zealand Cycleway, Bike Taupo has constructed a shared mountain biking and walking track (W2K) between Kinloch and Whakaipo Bay. Currently stretching 35km, when finished the Lake Track Cycle Trail will be 100km. The Headland Loop of the track is a 9.76km loop. There are two lookout tracks coming off the Headland Loop track (viewing Whangamata Bay and Whakaipo Bay). The view obtained from over the Whangamata Bluffs is outstanding.
There is moderate fishing from the lakeshore, although the Mapara Stream is high in trout and koaro spawning. The rural landscape has sparse vegetation, but the area has pastoral, bracken-fern and pine plantations, with native fivefinger-kohuhu, and kowhai-kanuka forests. Whakaipo Bay has the most common forest birds including New Zealand falcon, Kereru (seasonally), quail in the exotic forests and black-backed gull that nest on the cliffs. The bay has historic significance, namely a Urupa (burial place) at the stream mouth and Waahi tapu sites in the cliffs and cliff top.
A popular holiday spot
Kuratau is a 15 minute drive up SH41 from Turangi, bordering the southern west edge of Lake Taupo. Kuratau's gentle sloping terrain down to the lake provides wonderful vistas of stunning Lake Taupo and the snow capped Kaimanawa Ranges. Kuratau is formed around a natural sandspit and the Kuratau river mouth. It's lined with native bush full of tuis, fantails and quail. This lakeside settlement is sheltered from the prevailing winds so it's an ideal holiday destination, with safe boating and fishing. Kuratau has great amenities including boat ramps and tennis courts.
Not far off SH 41 is Omori, a striking scenic hillside community that gently meanders down to the lake's edge. The Omori lakeside settlement offers some of the finest views looking up the lake to Taupo, Mt Tauhara and the snow capped ranges of the Kaiamanawas.
It's a well-established little community with a boat ramp and jetty,general store, croquet lawn, tennis court, volleyball court and water ski lane. There is a picnic area and safe swimming beach situated on a pleasant public reserve and a walk to Pukawa through wonderful New Zealand bush, full of native birds.
The area boasts two boutique wineries producing quality wines, and Omori Estate also producing premium olive oils. Kuratau River Wines ois home to Floating Rock Cafe - open through the Christmas holiday period.
Find Great Lake Taupo
Tokaanu is one of a number of small lakeside settlements around Lake Taupō, catering for both permanent residents and those with holiday accommodation. It is a five minute drive from Turangi, the largest town at the southern end of the lake. The small settlement beside the Tokaanu Stream has a range of amenities that include a cafe, motor garage and service station, hotel and restaurant, ski shop, kayak hire, thermal resort, motels, motor camp, and a historic church.
Tokaanu is the southernmost entry to Lake Taupō and has a marina with two all-weather launching ramps. The marina is a favourite launching spot to access the Tongariro Delta with its exceptional fishing for brown and rainbow trout. Spin fishing is popular at the mouth of the tailrace or from the Tokaanu wharf.
Since the 1800s, Tokaanu has had a long association with tourism. Travellers arrived by stage coach, staying the night in the Tokaanu Hotel and departed from the Tokaanu wharf by steam launch for Taupō at the northern end of the lake. For hundreds of years, Maori have used the geothermal resources of this area for cooking, bathing, and leisure.
Western Lake Taupo
Pukawa just off SH41 is at the western edge of Lake Taupo looking directly back to Taupo and Mount Tauhara. A north-facing lakeside settlement of houses and holiday homes nestled amongst beautiful native trees and shrubs. Pukawa's unique situation and positioning allows great views of the lake amidst native bush abundant in bird life. Its sandy beach is ideal for picnicsand barbeques, and the swimming is very safe for children. With excellent boat launching facilities and a nearby water ski lane, Pukawa Bay is an excellent holiday spot for the family, fisherman or boatie. The mouth of the Pukawa stream is often very productive for fly fishing, and is best fished with a floating line at change of light or on a dark night.