Mount Tauhara is a dormant stratovolcano, reaching 3,569 feet (1,088 m) above sea level, situated within the Taupō caldera towards the centre of the Taupō Volcanic Zone, which stretches from White Island in the north to Mount Ruapehu in the south. It is 6 kilometres (4 mi) east of the town of Taupo,New Zealand, next to the northeastern shore of Lake Taupō.
Formed about 65,000 years ago, Mount Tauhara was not a violently explosive vent, instead slowly oozing a viscous dacitic lava. It is the largest mass of dacite within the Taupō volcano, whose material is 98% rhyolitic. Little evidence of its volcanic past remains today; the peak is covered in dense native bush.
The hike up Mt. Tauhara is relatively strenuous and takes about an hour and a half each way. The track is not well groomed being slightly overgrown in some places. However, there is a pristine spring near the top perfect for drinking and the view at the summit is spectacular.
This is the Māori legend about Mt Tauhara:
The warrior mountains of Taranaki, Pūtauaki, Tongariro and Tauhara were deeply in love with Pīhangathe mountain that stands above Turangi at the southern end of Lake Taupō. A battle erupted to win Pīhanga’s favour and the victor was Tongariro. At their defeat, the other mountains decided to leave Tongariro’s domain, travelling as far away as they could in the course of one night. Taranaki fled west towards the setting sun, and Pūtauaki and Tauhara fled north towards the sunrise. Pūtauaki moved fast and is now located near Whakatane and is also known as Mt Edgecumbe. But Tauhara was sad and with a heavy heart he traveled reluctantly. When overtaken by dawn he had only reached the north eastern shore of Lake Taupō. Here he stands to this day looking mournfully across the lake towards his lost love, Pīhanga.
Tauhara is the point to which Ngātoroirangi, the high priest of Te Arawa canoe, and ariki-ancestor of Tūwharetoa, climbed when he first came to the region seeking lands for his followers.
There is a steep walking track to the top of Mount Tauhara, starting at Mountain Road. On a clear day, the summit offers excellent views over the Volcanic Plateau, encompassing the entirety of Lake Taupo in the southeast.
“Tauhara” is Māori for “alone, or isolated”.