The tidy town of Taupo is the base for exploring Lake Taupo, the country's largest lake. Its placid shores are backed by volcanic mountains, and in the vicinity you'll see more of the geothermal activity that characterizes this zone. Water sports are popular here—notably sailing, cruising, and waterskiing—but Taupo is most known for fishing. The town is the rainbow-trout capital of the universe: the average Taupo trout weighs in around 4 pounds, and the lake is open year-round. Meanwhile, the backpacker crowd converges on Taupo for its adventure activities. The town has skydiving and bungy-jumping opportunities, and white-water rafting and jet-boating are available on the local rivers.


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