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Exploring New Zealand

Turangi Area Guide

Fly fisherman casting in the Poutu Pool,
Tongariro River - ©
The small town of Turangi lies on the banks of the Tongariro River, four kilometres from the southern edge of Lake Taupo. The township was built by the government in the mid-1960s to house the thousands of workers employed on building the Tongariro Hydro-Electric Power Station and still bears the hallmarks of a model town, with its curving streets and uniformly-built houses.

The town is a popular base for activities on the Tongariro River, particularly for trout fishing, white water rafting, and kayaking. The world-class fishing has attracted many famous names to the area, including the Queen Mother, former US President Jimmy Carter, and the American writer of western novels, Zane Grey, who wrote about the river in his book, Angler's Eldorado.

The Visitor Centre is a good place to stop for information about fishing and local walking tracks, including that around beautiful Lake Rotopounamu, ten kilometres south of Turangi off state highway 47. Walk down to Ten Minute Beach for a picnic and swim, or take the five-kilometre track around the lake to enjoy the native forest and bird song. Or to explore the river itself further, take the one-hour Tongariro River Loop Track from Turangi.

If you fail to get close enough to observe a trout in the wild, you can visit the Tongariro National Trout Centre, five kilometres south of Turangi. The centre has an under-river viewing room for visitors to observe wild trout in the Waihukahuka Stream, information on the management of the Taupo Fishery, and organises special children's fishing days.

Historic Tokaanu, five kilometres west of Turangi, is on the shores of Lake Taupo, and has its own geothermal reserve. A 20-minute walking track leads around the steaming hot mineral pools and spluttering mud of the Tokaanu thermal area, and rainbow trout can often be seen here in the cold stream that flows alongside. The nearby Tokaanu Thermal Pools complex has an open-air mineral pool and private hot pools.