Taupo now rivals Rotorua for daredevil escapades, according to the Lonely Planet's newest guide to New Zealand.

The lakeside town and central plateau region have been described as possessing some of the North Island's star attractions, including Lake Taupo and the peaks of the Tongariro National Park in the just-released 16th edition ofLonely Planet New Zealand.

"Perhaps you fancy fly-fishing in the trout-filled Tongariro River, hooning up to Huka Falls in a jetboat or bouncing on a bungy over the Waikato River? Or skydiving, skiing, or just soaking in a thermal pool? If so, mark Taupo as a must-do on your North Island itinerary," says the guide.

It lists the best places to eat as Bistro Lago at the Hilton Lake Taupo, Vine Eatery and the Brantry in Taupo, and Tongariro Lodge near Turangi; and the best places to stay as Riverstone Backpackers and Creel Lodge in Turangi, and the Lake in Taupo.


And its highlights, according to Lonely Planet, are tramping the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, taking a tandem skydive, skiing on Mt Ruapehu, biking the 42 Traverse, paddling Lake Taupo to the modern Maori carvings, discovering the lost valley of Orakei Korako, jetboating on the Waikato River and bungy jumping.

Of Taupo, the guide says that there's an abundance of blood-pumping activities, but for those who prefer less thrilling pursuits, there's enjoyment to be had strolling by the lake and enjoying the views.

Activities include catching and eating a trout, drinking from the Waikato River, bungying it, listening to Ka Mate, the haka written on the shores of Lake Rotoaira, experiencing the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and exploring the Tongariro National Park.

The guide lists the history of the region and some Maori legends of the area, and the main sights, activities and places to sleep, eat and drink, and describes Lake Taupo's water as "famously chilly".

The guide also describes free activities, such as the walks, mountain biking, Huka Falls, Aratiatia Rapids and the Spa Park hot stream. Taupo Museum gets a special mention for its "excellent Maori gallery and quirky displays" and the Volcanic Activity Centre at Wairakei also earns a nod for its displays on the region's geothermal and volcanic activity.