Wellington - A strong earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale rattled thousands of mid-summer holidaymakers at the New Zealand North Island lakeside resort town of Taupo on Saturday morning.

Seismologists at GNS Science said the quake was centred 20 kilometres from Taupo and 250 kilometres south-east of Auckland.

Recorded at a depth of 80 kilometres below the surface, it was widely felt in the North Island.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The shake followed a 5.5 tremor in the same region on Thursday and a massive quake measuring 6.8 on December 20 which did considerable damage in the east coast port town of Gisborne.