Formed after an enormous volcanic eruption approximately 27,000 years ago, expansive Lake Taupo teems with fish and is surrounded by beech forests. With its mild climate, alpine scenery and attractions such as Huka Falls and the nearby Tongariro National Park, it has become a tourist hub attracting more than 2 million visitors each year. The town hosts an annual bicycle race around the lake, as well as skydiving and an iron man endurance event. The area is also known for its impressive Maori rock carvings, extreme mountain bike trails and geothermal pools. While fishing remains popular on the lake, activities like kayaking, water skiing and sailing also attract visitors from around the world. In the spring and winter, outdoor enthusiasts base themselves in Taupo to experience skiing on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano to the south of the lake.