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Grinding to a Halt!

Days of cruising old highway on Taupō's lakefront are over

Matthew Martin 12:07, Jun 29 2022


Concept plans for the redevelopment of Lake Terrace in Taupō will see the central business district integrated with the lakefront with only one-way vehicle access along Lake Terrace.


Remember road tripping through Taupō and cruising along the old State Highway 1 on the waterfront?

Savour that memory, because the town’s central lakefront is undergoing a two-year, $25 million transformation that will put cars firmly in the back seat.


The final phase of the four-stage Taupō Town Centre Transformation project is under way which will see Roberts St and Lake Terrace transformed into a “people-friendly environment”, with one-way traffic access along the former stretch of State Highway 1.


The majority of the project ($20.4 million) was funded by the Government as part of its “shovel-ready” infrastructure funding programme in 2020, with an additional $4.4 million “top-up” coming from ratepayers in this year’s annual plan, which will allow the Taupō District Council to complete the project to a higher standard than Government funding allowed for.


Phase two started in April 2021, and included the reorientation of the street network to shift local through-traffic from Lake Terrace and Tongariro St to Titiraupenga St and Spa Rd.

Phases three and four will see Tongariro St reduced to two lanes and a slower speed zone in the area, along with safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists and better links between the town centre, Tongariro Domain and Lake Terrace, along with additional outdoor dining spaces.



The council has also substantially increased the number of car parks at either end of the redevelopment to “ensure we are continuing to cater to a variety of modes of transport”.

The council wants to “create a world-class waterfront and better connect people to our lake and beautiful environment”.


“Turning our town centre into an area with quality places, that puts people first, is a critical part of attracting locals and visitors alike to spend time in the town centre, with huge social and economic benefits associated with that.”


Taupō mayor David Trewavas said he understood the work had caused delays and inconvenience for motorists and pedestrians but the end result would be worth the wait.


“Be patient, it is going to look fantastic when it is finished.

“There is always a bit of pain when change comes but it will be well worth it; it will be a high-quality job and it will bring a new vibrancy and feel to the town.”


Council chief executive Gareth Green said the result would deliver a world-class waterfront.

“The transformation here will help connect people to our lake and it is going to be a real focal point for our town.

“Maintaining vibrancy is something that so many towns and quite a few cities are struggling with around the country, and it is really great that we could get funding to actually do something about this here in our town.”

Green said the project was on time and on budget, and the council was managing the process carefully.

All going well, the new-look lakefront will be ready by summer this year.


Council landscape architect Fraser Scott said the redesigned lakefront space would be an experience unique to Taupō.

“Very few places have the natural beauty we have on our central business district edge – and that we are able to create a place for people to connect with the landscape and each other is something we can all embrace and enjoy for years to come.”

The seeds of the project were sown back in 2010 at the completion of the East Taupō Arterial route that moved State Highway 1 away from the lakefront, freeing up road reserve which allowed the council to proceed with the project.

The project also provided the equivalent of 92 full-time local jobs.


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