Taupo
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Taupo Culture & History

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

1. 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.

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Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

2. 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 all the while. After boarding your cruise, explore the stunning surroundings of the lake, 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 represent a triumph of Maori artistry, and the continued preservation of indigenous culture. Perfect for the whole family, after taking in the carving, you can feed the ducks, and maybe even catch a fish. After 1.5 hours, you’ll head back to the dock to disembark.

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Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carving 2.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

3. 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 fleet of electric yachts. Set off with a friendly and experienced crew who have been sailing to these carvings since 1983. 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 guides explain the 800-year-old cultural significance of the 14-metre high Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings.  Soak up the sun or roll up your sleeves; 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.

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Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

4. 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. 

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Rotorua: Full-Day Hiking Tour in Whirinaki Forest

5. Rotorua: Full-Day Hiking Tour in Whirinaki Forest

Explore the majestic Whirinaki Forest on a guided 4-hour hike amongst the awe-inspiring trees for which the lush rainforest is best known. This impressive forest is unlike any other and if you are lucky you might spot some of New Zealand's rarest birds which have made the dense woods their habitat.  On your hike around this unspoiled, old rainforest surrounded by towering five-hundred-year-old trees and rushing rivers you will discover what a biodiversity hotspot these woods are. Hear rare birds calling overhead as you make your way to a beautiful waterfall, by which you will eat your lunch. Learn about the conservation efforts being made in the park from your knowledgeable guide as well as the flora and fauna you see as you move around the forest. Expect to see trees such as rimu, kahikatea, miro, and matai. Additionally, if you are lucky you may spot some rare birds as well such as kaka (North Island parrot), yellow-crowned kakariki (parakeet), and toutouwai (North Island robin).

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Other Sightseeing Options in Taupo

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What people are saying about Taupo

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 29 reviews

It was really amazing experience. We enjoyed a lot and cruise crews explained all the beautiful places and there history clearly. They are very helpful all the time. Thank you for giving opportunity to express my feelings.

Great for kids. Professional and family friendly activity. Clean boat and we also enjoyed the hot drinks and the warm muffins. Highly reccommended.

The skipper was awesome, fresh blueberry muffin was a treat. Good information during the tour.

Great relaxing cruise. Very informative commentary. Carvings were great.

Well worth the price. Not too long, staff very friendly