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Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo: Our most recommended tours and activities

Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

1. 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: Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise

2. Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour 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: Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

3. Lake Taupo: 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.

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.

Taupo: Māori Rock Carvings Lake Taupo Sailing Tour

5. Taupo: Māori Rock Carvings Lake Taupo Sailing Tour

Travel aboard a high-end charter vessel for smooth sailing with this guided Lake Taupo tour from Taupo. Stay comfortable with blankets and beanbag chairs as you cruise to the breathtaking Maori Rock Carvings. Hop aboard a catamaran with a spacious saloon, covered cockpit, and high-end fittings that offer both comfort and class. Enjoy the large deck and relax on a beanbag chair. With a boat that is suitable for all weather conditions, you can take shelter from rain, wind, or sun in the saloon and cockpit. Glide across the water to uncover the beauty of the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. Capture pictures of its breathtakingly-clear waters and stunning surroundings of mountains, hidden bays, and the lush green of bushes and trees. Purchase snacks and drinks from the boat's licensed bar. Learn from your local and experienced guide about the history of the lake and of the Maori Rock Carvings, and their cultural significance. Stop for a swim in the fresh waters before snuggling up under some blankets on the way back to shore.

Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings Kayaking Tour

6. Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings Kayaking Tour

Meet your guide at the activity provider's store and make your way to the lake. Receive all the necessary safety instructions before climbing aboard your kayak to start your adventure. Glide across Lake Taupo’s crystal-clear waters and soak in the view across the lake to 3 live volcanos. Hear the history of the carvings, various Maori legends, and facts about the local area from your guide. Make a stop to enjoy rock jumps and a swim in Australasia’s largest freshwater Lake. Paddle to the awe-inspiring Maori rock carvings and take in these fascinating ancient works before paddling back to shore.

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: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

8. 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.

Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 8.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise

9. Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 8.30 AM 1.5-Hour 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. 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. At the end of the trip, you’ll head back to the dock to disembark.

Kinloch: Lake Taupo Catamaran Cruise with Paddleboarding

10. Kinloch: Lake Taupo Catamaran Cruise with Paddleboarding

On the Adventurer tour, you will explore further into the Western Bays of Lake Taupo. Be amazed as you get up close to waterfalls that tumble into the lake. You'll discover hidden ravines and be entertained by the skipper's knowledge of this area as he shares his favourite spots with you. As you head south, you'll be in awe of the mighty Karangahape Cliffs which tower hundreds of feet above the lake, as if they are guarding the southern end of the Western Bays. Enjoy a short bush walk in the native forest and relax with some additional time available for swimming, paddle boarding (seasonal) or even a picnic on a secluded beach only accessible by boat. Light refreshments are included but you may wish to bring your own picnic.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Taupo

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What people are saying about Lake Taupo

Overall rating

4.7
(359 reviews)

Would absolutely recommend ! Sailing was great, the Skipper gave a lot of interesting info on the lake, the area, the Maori cravings and patiently answered all questions. Relaxing on the bean bags or assisting with some of the sailing, never a dull moment. It was the highlight of my day 🤩

Everything was great from start to finish. The weather was perfect, the captain and skipper were friendly and gave good information about everything. I had a great time. Thanks!

Lovely sunset trip with pizza and a drink. Beautiful views of the lake and managed to get quite close to view the Māori carvings. Would definitely recommend.

The activity was great, but getyourguide did not ask about dietary requirements. Well worth the trip out to see the carvings and learn about Lake Taupo!

Fabulous day. The equipment was really good and Doug was an excellent guide on our tour. Coffee and biyhslf way were a welcome surprise.