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Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo: Our most recommended tours and activities

Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

1. Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

Cruise through the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of Lake Taupo, taking in the vibrancy of Maori culture on a cruise. Explore the stunning surroundings of the lake while surrounded by rugged mountains and lush trees on the banks. Enjoy an optional fishing demonstration. As you glide through the lake on your deluxe Catamaran, you’ll come to a massive carving depicting the traditional facial tattooing of the Maori people. Inspired by centuries of rich Maori tradition, artist Matahi Brightwell carved the elaborate relief into the side of a cliff directly above the lake’s pristine waters in 1980. Depicting one of his grandmother’s ancestors, the carving represents a triumph of Maori artistry and the continued preservation of indigenous culture. After visiting the Maori Rock Carvings, watch as the crew gives a trout fishing demonstration by setting some fishing lines and talking about the various fishing options allowed on Lake Taupo (if option selected). At the end of the trip, you’ll head back to the dock to disembark.

Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

2. Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

Admire beautiful Māori rock carvings set against a stunning mountainous backdrop on a 1.5-hour journey around Lake Taupo's waters aboard a boat that features live audio commentary. Relax and enjoy coffee or tea and a homemade muffin as you admire panoramic views of New Zealand, picturesque mountain tops, and historic rock carvings inspired by centuries of rich Māori tradition and art. Explore the open decks that allow you to feel the cool outdoor breeze or cozily snuggle into one of the indoor booths, and enjoy a trout fishing demonstration by the crew — you may even get a "taste of Taupo" if all goes well.

Taupō: Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carving 2.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

3. Taupō: Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carving 2.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

Discover Taupo's Maori Rock Carvings, possibly the largest of their type in the world and only accessible by boat. Enjoy sailing Lake Taupo at its best (and quietest) with New Zealand's only commercially operated electric yacht. Set off with a friendly and experienced skipper. Make yourself at home on a lovingly restored classic white sailing yacht, which set the scene for a wonderful experience on stunning Taupo Moana (Lake Taupo). Sit back and relax as your fun and experienced guide explains the 800-year-old cultural significance of the 14-meter high Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings.  Soak up the sun or you can take the wheel, help hoist the sails or just sit back and enjoy the view. Equipped for all conditions - if the wind dies down, the eco-friendly electric engine will kick in, moving you noiselessly through the water. When the wind is up, you can enjoy sailing without salty sea spray and noisy outboard motors. Snuggly warm ponchos are supplied for cooler days.

Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

4. Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

Enjoy a summer evening cruising on Lake Taupo. Chris Jolly has been entertaining guests for 40 years, and his tour to the Maori Rock Carvings is known worldwide. Recently restored, these rock carvings were created in the 1980s and still tower above the water, truly a sight to behold.  With family friendly activities on board and split level comfort, this tour is a must for those visiting the region. Enjoy the full bar as you cruise around the Lake Taupo bays, learning onboard from the live commentary. With views of Tongariro National Park and spectacular scenery, this is one evening to be enjoyed by all.

Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

5. Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

Enjoy a true sailing experience onboard a classic sailing boat with a sailing tour of Lake Taupo. Explore the beauty of the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, its breathtaking clear waters and stunning surroundings of mountains, hidden bays, and the lush green of bushes and trees. Learn from your local and experienced guide about the history of the lake, the Maori Rock Carvings, and their cultural significance. Get involved in the sailing side and give the crew a hand or just sit back, relax and enjoy the comfort and space on this classical sailing boat. Listen to some music and the sound of the water when gliding through the lake, only using the power of wind whenever it is possible. Stop for a swim in the fresh waters before snuggling up under some blankets on the way back to shore.

Taupo: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

6. Taupo: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

Set off on a thrilling journey through the natural wonders of New Zealand with a 1-hour seaplane flight. Departing from a jetty in Taupo bay, you’ll take off and head south, beginning your volcanic sightseeing with Mount Pihanga, before soaring over the Blue and Emerald Lakes towards the massive summit of Mount Ruapehu, towering nearly 10,000 feet above sea level.  Circling the summit, you’ll view the Crater Lake, tapering down to the volcano’s broad ski slopes. Turning northward, you’ll fly towards Mount Ngauruhoe, with the opportunity to gaze down into its immense center. Continuing onward, soar over Mount Tongariro, viewing the Red Crater, the Blue Lake, and ancient lava flows, before beginning your descent over Lake Taupo to land along the lakefront.

From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

7. From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

Get a fantastic geothermal experience without the thronging crowds with this day trip to Orakei Korako from Rotorua. Discover a geothermal park boasting the most active geysers in New Zealand. After exploring Orakei Korako, visit Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Depart Rotorua after pickup from your hotel between 9 AM-9:15 AM and travel to Orakei Korako. Somewhat off the beaten track, Orakei Korako, also known as the Hidden Valley, is nestled in the Taupo Volcanic Zone between Taupo and Rotorua. After a 45-minute drive to get there, take a short boat ride across the lake then enjoy 2 hours to explore the thermal area featuring up to 23 natural geysers in a constantly changing landscape. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colors all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. Next, move on to Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Lunch is at your own expense but there are multiple places for you to choose to eat. In Taupo, be guided by your driver and visit the lake front and other interesting sights. Your driver will find out what interests you and, if possible, tailor the day to maximize the stops to suit your interests. Return to Rotorua after Taupo for drop-off at your accommodation between 3:30 PM-4:30 PM.

Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

8. Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Enjoy this action-packed city of Taupo, where water-based and adrenaline activities keep many tourists busy. Located on Lake Tauponuiatia or Lake Taupo for short, this area is rich with geothermal and volcanic activity where natural hot springs and baths surround the area. In this audio tour you will learn about the Waikato River which runs from the Lake and its fishing history at the Taupo Boat Harbour. You will also see where the Skydiving takes place, as well as learn about the Māori Carvings and Stories, the Lake itself, the Tongariro National Park, the Harbour Master Building and Boats, Tapuaeharuru Redoubt and Magazine, the Courthouse Buildings, the Story Place, the Taupo Museum with the Garden of Wellbeing, the Joan Williamson Rose Garden, Great Lake Centre, the Settler's Cemetery and the Taupo Primary School. A fun tour full of interesting information. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Taupo

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Taupo? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Taupo

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 229 reviews

I took out group of interns on this trip, and they had a great time. The crew were friendly and the captain did a great job making the trip interesting. One of the gals who helped with tea and baking the blueberry muffins also gave a great explanation of the meaning & history of all the carvings. We were blessed with a great day out on the lake - smooth as glass, even with a little rain the trip was very enjoyable. Watching the ducks fly up and eat out of my hand was a fun little highlight as well.

Experiencing Lake Taupo and the Maori Carvings by sail boat is absolutely the way to go! Our guide was fantastic and we had an epic lunch in the middle of the lake.

Wonderful experience. The skipper was so knowledgeable about the area and it's history which she shared with a lovely touch of humour.

Great trip. Knowledgeable crew, really informative throughout the whole trip and really funny as well. We had a great time.

Honestly the best money spent, I truely would have spent more it was that good.