Where is it? Located in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, Lake Taupo is the largest in Australasia at 40 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. It stretches from the adventure lover’s hub in the town of Taupo down to Tongariro National Park in the south, famous for the ski fields on Mount Ruapehu. There’s plenty to do on and around the lake and the natural beauty and tranquility makes it the ideal spot for honeymooners.
Things to do
… for active couples
Clutching to your new hubby while you do a tandem bungy jump is the ultimate bonding experience, right? The team at Taupo Bungy (taupobungy.com) are friendly, professional and will very gently talk you off the ledge - and won't judge if you chicken out!
But it's the waterways in the region that offer the most thrills, and the Tongariro River has more than 50 exciting rapids. Rafting New Zealand (raftingnewzealand.com) in Turangi (at the southern end of Lake Taupo) offers an authentic Kiwi rafting experience, incorporating Maori culture. They can also arrange a private trip down the rapids. Look out for the endangered whio (blue duck).
… for relaxation
Lake Taupo is part of a geothermal landscape that very conveniently provides natural thermal pools, renowned for their therapeutic benefits, not to mention the chance to get hot and steamy together at the end of the day. Sustain your happy balance at the Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa (wairakeiterraces.co.nz), where you can bathe in silica-enriched pools, then enjoy a traditional Maori massage.
… for foodies
Start your day at Replete cafe (replete.co.nz), then make your way around vineyards and gourmet food stores. At River Wine Estate you can taste their pinot gris or pinot noir while sampling the menu in their cosy restaurant (riverwines.co.nz). In the town of Taupo, you're spoilt for choice. For something extra special, Bistro Lago (bistrolago.co.nz) at Hilton Lake Taupo is run by celebrity chef Simon Gault and his dishes are as divine as the view.
Where to stay
Oreti (oretivillage.com) at Pukawa Bay is off the beaten track, but with 180-degree views of the mountains and lake, you can dine at the restaurant watching the boats sail by or steal away to your deluxe honeymoon apartment. Prices from $210* per night.
If modern luxury is more your thing, make Hilton Lake Taupo (hilton.com) your base. Stay in the historic heritage building, or a contemporary apartment or suite. The hotel sits in the Onekeke Thermal Valley, providing a mystical steaming landscape for your viewing pleasure. Prices from $195*.
The Chateau Tongariro (chateau.co.nz), is a New Zealand icon located at the base of Mount Ruapehu in the Dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park. You'll be minutes away from ski slopes. Rates start at $195*.
How to get there
Air New Zealand flies from most capital cities to Auckland and Rotorua. Taupo is an hour's drive from Rotorua, so hire a car at the airport. For more info, visit greatlaketaupo.com.
*All prices are quoted in New Zealand dollars and are subject to change and availability at time of booking.