Sitting on the southern shore of vast Lake Taupō, in the middle of the North Island, is a tremendous little fishing town - the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, no less (or is that of the world….).
Welcome to Turangi, on the banks of the Tongariro River and part of the volcanic plateau. Head here for fish, of course, but there’s also a tremendous little treasure on the banks of that river - where you’ll find some real New Zealand food delights.
The trout are there….
Lake Taupō, and its nearby rivers, sure form a trout fishing mecca. The Tongariro River, the largest and most important spawning river in the Great Lake Taupō fishing region, runs through Turangi. Its reputation is as a world-class river to fish for prime rainbow and brown trout. There’s been visits from anglers from all over the world for many decades. Apparently the Queen Mother (one famous angler) visited back in the 1920s.
So Turangi can offer the best of New Zealand trout and fly fishing.
And there’s the Tongariro National Trout Centre and hatchery nearby, to find out more about wild trout. The trout hatchery is managed by the Department of Conservation, very busy around here. And its main use is to stock the children’s fishing pond at the centre - not to stock the rivers and lakes.
But we love that the hatchery also serves an important purpose in the event of a disaster. Apparently, if a major volcanic eruption or an earthquake took place, and the trout population was in danger, the hatchery’s fish would be used to restock the rivers and lakes. Good work DOC….
A history of more
Turangi’s name comes from Maori leader Turangitukua, an important figure in the area’s early history. After many battles Turangitukua and his followers occupied land near the Tongariro River and, with several other chiefs, helped the Ngāti Tūwharetoa people become established in the Taupō region. So the major Māori hapu of the Turangi area is Ngāti Turangitukua.
The first Europeans reached the centre of the North Island in the 1830s, and in the 1850s European settlement occurred with a mission station at Pukawa. Then, at the turn of the century, Europeans settled in Turangi after trout were introduced to the lake and rivers. Fish came, settlers followed.
Turangi remained a quiet fishing village, until the 1960s, when the growing demand for hydropower brought change. The Tongariro hydro-electric power development project began, and the building of a new town, for the project workers and families.
And enjoy those food treasures
But back to those trout, and the fish around here.
What could be better, when in the region of trout, than to find an historic fly fishing tackle shop, selling freshwater fishing tackle, licences and flies - and a terrific cafe attached, with fresh food baked right there. Try the famous brioche, the chicken leek and bacon pie (delicious), or the notorious hangover pie (we never did…).
Then how could you leave Turangi without some of that world famous (in New Zealand) trout, and smoked trout to boot. We hope the fish are running for you, or at least that you find a friendly fisher-person to share the catch. So then you can try a summer salad treat. For our Turangi-inspired smoked fish and tomato salad idea, click here.
And for more….
So enjoy food treasures from Turangi, and the wider Taupō region. And for more on what to find and enjoy on North Island travels, explore food treasures on our North Island Food Travel Guide app - click here. You’ll find delightful coffee stops and eateries, artisan producers, and a whole lot more….