Waikato Sightseeing cruises

Our most recommended Waikato Sightseeing cruises

Whitianga: Cathedral Cove 2 Hour Boat Cruise

1. Whitianga: Cathedral Cove 2 Hour Boat Cruise

Based in Whitianga, this scenic boat cruise showcases Mercury Bay’s stunning coastal paradise at its very best. Embark on a 2-hour journey across the rugged volcanic shores of the bay and explore its beautiful beaches including Hahei and Lonely Bay. The highlight of the tour is the world-famous Cathedral Cove at Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve. The site has a rich Maori heritage, attracts around 150,000 visitors per year, and was used as a filming location for the blockbuster movie Narnia. Sit back and relax as you sail around the bay, and marvel at its stunning natural landscapes that stretch across the peninsula. Along the way, listen to your guide share entertaining live commentary about the bay and the wildlife that lives here. Make sure to keep an eye on the water too, as there's always a chance to see dolphins, whales and orcas in their natural habitat.

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: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

4. 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.

Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

5. Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

Your thrilling adventure will take you along the beautiful Waikato river environment, lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff faces, and natural hot springs. Enjoy the best water-level view of Huka Falls from the unique vantage point on the jet boat. The manoeuvrability of the Hukafalls jet boat is legendary. Be in awe at the speed and precision in which you torpedo gracefully down the river to play in the tail of the mighty whitewater of the Huka Falls. Pass by clouds of steam rising where a hot stream joins the river. See the Huka Prawn Park, the Wairakei Geo-Thermal Power Station, and the Aratiatia Dam. Zoom past sheer rock cliffs with just centimeters to spare, exhilarated and secure in the knowledge that your driver is an expert.

Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

6. Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

After being picked up from your hotel in Rotorua, enjoy a pleasurable and scenic drive through the New Zealand countryside and learn about the region from your professional local driver/ guide. Travel in the comfort of your modern and fully air-conditioned vehicle. Set off on a journey of discovery at the infamous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Sit back and relax as you take a magical boat ride beneath thousands of glowworms. Discover more about the 120 years of cultural and natural history on this fully guided tour and marvel at this mesmerizing natural light display as you silently glide through the wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.  Continuing your fantastical journey, step into Hobbiton, where an official guide will show you around this breathtaking and impressive movie set. Wander into Hobbit holes, including Bilbo and Frodo's home, and take a turn around their vegetable patches with giant pumpkins! At the end of the tour, be transported to Middle Earth as you enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon Inn. If you're looking to experience some of New Zealand's top attractions, or are an avid Lord of the Rings fan, then this is a truly unmissable and unforgettable experience! 

Whitianga: Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

7. Whitianga: Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

Embark on a sailing trip from Flaxmill Bay, a small cove nestled between Cooks Beach and Whitianga to see the iconic sights of Mercury Bay and Cathedral Cove. Lend a hand with the sailing or simply sit back and relax on comfy beanbags and admire the picturesque scenery.  Board our large, modern catamaran, and after a short introductory session to the boat's main facilities and safety systems, set sail out to the calm waters of the bay.  As you sail, spot the area's most notable sights with the help of your guide. Keep your cameras ready as you sail past Cathedral Cove. You will enjoy some snacks and drinks during the journey.  Once the boat sets anchor, choose to swim or snorkel in the marine reserve with the wonderful sea life, or simply chill out on board and soak up the scenery.  The tour concludes back at the starting point in Flaxmill Bay. 

Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

8. 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.

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

9. 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.

Waikato River: 1-Hour Ecological River Cruise

10. Waikato River: 1-Hour Ecological River Cruise

Experience an ecological river cruise on a speedboat that is tailored to the wishes of the customers on board, this includes the speed, and the number of slides and spins if any. The experienced driver will give you a detailed history of the area and Karapiro Dam and power station. Admire the native birds and wildlife which make the area home. Your guide has a diploma in environmental management and an in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Encounter numerous fish species and birds species such as Fantail, Kingfisher, Tui, Harrier Hawk, NZ Falcon, Heron, Shag, Mallard Duck and more. See large waterfalls from the towering cliffs above. Experience some of the narrowest sections of the Waikato River with the forest canopy above. Visit the base of the Karapiro Hydro Power station with full commentary provided. Then, cruise back to beautiful Cambridge.

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What people are saying about Waikato

We went on board with our friends total of 14 adults. Was such an amazing experience. The weather in Taupo the day we took the cruise was beautiful. Thanks to the Chris Jolly and the team

Great trip very informative Never been on a yacht so that was something different Would recommend this trip

Liam our skipper/guide was the best. Kept us all interested and took us to some pretty places

A great way to see the beautiful coast and learn about the history of the area

Very enjoyable experience. Commentary was informative and interesting.