Lake Taupo was originally formed by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago, 1200
cubic kilometres of material was ejected forming the caldera of the volcano. This volume of material compares with
the Mount St Helens 1980 eruption of around 1.25 cubic kilometres. Since that original explosion there have been a
further 28 eruptions.
The largest most recent eruption was in 180 AD when around 100 cubic
kilometres of material was ejected, Both the Chinese and the Romans recorded the eruption as "days of nights".
The volcanic ash caused global darkness for 3 days.
Mount Ruapehu situated at the Southern end of the lake last erupted in 1996.
The original explosion formed the Caldera which subsequently flooded to form the lake. There are around 28 rivers
and streams feeding the lake, there is only one outlet, the Waikato river which flows from the Northern most
Trout in Lake Taupo
Rainbow trout were imported from California and liberated into the lake in
1898. German brown trout were liberated about the same time. The average
weight of a rainbow trout is 1.5kg and the browns 2.5kg. both species
adapted extremely well to their new environment and since initial liberation
there has been no further stocking of the lake with trout. They now remain
one of the last know resources of natural wild trout in the world. By law,
trout are not allowed to be bought or sold in New Zealand and can only be
caught by sports fishermen. There are no eels in Lake Taupo, they do not survive, nor will barnacles.
Lake Taupo is 357 metres above sea level [1160feet]
The Lake is 46 km(29 miles) long x 33 km(21 miles) wide, Area 616 sq kilometres (238 sq miles) Maximum depth of 186
metres [613 feet] and approx 193km of coastline or 160km by road.
Because of the curvature of the earth we cannot see one end of the Lake from the other. Rise & fall end to end
is 9metres [29 feet]
A current flows from south to north of 0.2 to 0.7 knots - but has three
distinct rotations, known as "geyrs"; one in the main lake, one in
Western Bays and anti clockwise in Taupo Bay.
It would take 16years for a single molecule of water to travel from one end of
the Lake to the other.
A "seiche" effect giving a surface undulation of up to a metre is caused by air pressure changes - often felt as a
sudden surge of waves.
If no more water came into Lake Taupo it would take over 30 months for Lake Taupo to drain empty.
According to Maori mythology, the lake was first discovered by Ngatoro-i-
Rangi of the Te Arawa Canoe, one of the first canoes that brought the Maori
to New Zealand. He names the lake Taupo Nui A Tia, which translates as "the
cloak, or shoulder mat of Tia" [Tia was a lesser High Priest of the canoe] The
white caps on the wave tops represent the white feathers on the cloak.
First sighted by a European traveller Ferdinand Ritter von Hochstetter around
1859 - it took him two weeks to reach the lake cutting through forests and
canoeing up rivers. Settlement began ten years later.
The Maori rock carvings, which can only be accessed from the water, were commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth Arts
Council in 1980, These feature mostly "taniwhas' or protectors of the lake, whose power extends to include the
island of Motutaiko where many of the Tribal Chiefs are buried. The carvings were done by members of the Tuwharetoa
tribe to create images from their legends.
The Isolated Danger Mark 80m off-shore from the bottom of Tongariro street
is marking a significant maori marker known as Ngatoro's spear which legend says that he threw into the Lake
In the rocks at Kaipo Bay & Whakaipo Bay you can see the vertical fractures & rock forms caused by heat
dissipation from the eruption.
Mining was carried out at "Mine Bay" actually named Okuta Bay and timber
was milled from Acacia Bay North where the concrete groyne still remains.
Lake Taupo does not have the long swells such as are found on the ocean, the wave formation is a sharp chop with
peaks 2/3 to ¾ the spacing of ocean waves peak to peak. Mt Tauhara, the small mountain behind Taupo township is
1089feet high. Waikato River is NZ's longest river 427 kms long with 8 hydro electric power
stations along it.
Singapore Island would fit within Lake Taupo