Waikato
Ecotourism

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Our most recommended Waikato Ecotourism

Whitianga: 2-Hour Scenic Glass Bottom Boat Tour

1. Whitianga: 2-Hour Scenic Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Hop onboard this 2-hour guided boat cruise to explore stunning volcanic coastline, the amazing marine life as well as learn more about what you see and the history of the area. Visit Cathedral Cove, sea caves, towering rock formations and more. View an abundance of the marine life through the glass panels throughout your cruise. Meet the crew at the Whitianga Wharf to board the Glass Bottom Boat, then cruise out the harbour and learn about the history of Whitianga and abou Captain Cook's arrival. Once out the harbour hold onto your hats as the boat speeds up on the way to the stunning Shakespeares Cliff and Cooks Beach Blow hole.  Continue on into the marine reserve to get a first look at Cathedral Cove and to explore the surrounding bays. Enjoy some fantastic marine life viewing through the glass panels such as schools of snapper, reef fish, stingrays, crayfish and more. Learn all about what you see both below the surface, but also in terms of geological formations. Continue to view marine life while cruising along the coast line, stopping in bays to explore caves, rock pinnacles, and one of the tour highlights: the amazing Orua Sea Cave. The boat cruises right inside this magnificent sea cave full of fish and amazing acoustics. On the way back, there is a stop for more marine life viewing and the option to jump in the beautiful waters and have a snorkel or swim. Also keep and eye out for any passing marine mammals such as dolphins or orca as they are breathe taking to see in the wild. If you are lucky you may get to see them swimming under the glass panels. Sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views as the boat cruises back to the Whitianga Wharf.

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Whitianga: Cathedral Cove 2 Hour Boat Cruise

2. 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.

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Whitianga: 3-Hour Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

3. Whitianga: 3-Hour Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

Delight in a 3-hour sailing trip from Whitianga and 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. Meet your guide in Whitianga and board Fully Charged, a fast racing catamaran. 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. 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 Whitianga. The morning tour option includes freshly-brewed coffee, chilled organic juice, and a freshly-baked snack. The afternoon tour option includes chilled local beer or New Zealand wine with a fresh fruit platter.

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Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carving 2.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

4. 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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From Whitianga: Mercury Bay Schooner Cruise

5. From Whitianga: Mercury Bay Schooner Cruise

Meet at Whitianga wharf bright and early to allow for a full day of activities. Step on to the great Windborne; a 1928 Topsail Schooner, and meet your crew for the day. Once you devise a plan for the day the schooner will set sail. Sit back and relax on the large deck, listening to the tales of Windborne in the early days, and the captain's sea stories. Make sure to keep an eye out for dolphins, whales, and the vast array of birdlife swooping by. Visit some of the most breathtaking places around Mercury Bay including Cathedral Cove, Devil's Point, and Pink Beach. Drop anchor at these locations and go for a snorkel in the crystal clear waters, do some paddleboarding, or swim onto shore for a little look around. Or you can simply relax on deck and enjoy a picnic lunch. Arrive back to Whitianga at approximately 4:00 PM.

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Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

6. 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.

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Taupo: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

7. 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.

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From Auckland: Small Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour

8. From Auckland: Small Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour

First, enjoy the 90-minute drive to the charming town of Thames, where you will take a short break. Then, hit the road again and take in the spectacular views along New Zealand’s west coast. You will then stop in at the Coromandel Township where the renowned potter, Barry Brickell, had his studio. Ride on his personally designed mountain railway system, on a memorable journey through the rugged landscape. Next, stop for a quiet stroll in pristine rainforest and see some magnificent kauri trees, which once covered the Coromandel Peninsula. The journey continues across the mountain divide and descends towards the east coast beaches where you will stop for lunch. Visit the amazing Hot Water Beach, where hot water bubbles to the surface of the sand. Dig your own hot tub right next to the lapping waves.   Then, visit Cathedral Cove, where the water washes through a natural arch onto a white sandy beach backed by white cliffs. Next, take the 30-minute downhill walk to the beautiful beach, which was featured in the Chronicles of Narnia.   End the day enjoy the landscape during the return journey to Auckland, as you head over the hills along a different route.

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Whangamata: Whenuakura Island Guided Experiece

9. Whangamata: Whenuakura Island Guided Experiece

Embark on a short kayaking tour to Whenuakura Island, an area which is beginning to assume iconic status alongside other regional attractions in the Coromandel. The stunning Whenuakura Island, is one of a group of islands off the coast of Whangamata which have wildlife sanctuary status. As Guardians of the islands, this tour encourages you to treat the islands with respect to preserve their future. Because of the island’s geography, access is limited due to swell and wind conditions, and only kayaks or paddleboards can squeeze through the narrow entrance. The island is a wildlife sanctuary and opens up into a beautiful lagoon which is rather out of this world. Join the experienced team on an adventure that takes you 600m off the coast of Whangamata Beach, to a secluded turquoise lagoon surrounded by native fauna and volcanic cliff rock.

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Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

10. Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

Get off the beaten track on this intimate 3-hour tour through some of New Zealand's natural wonders. Start with a brief walk through native bush and the scenic Mangapu gorge.  Hike through beautiful native New Zealand forest, wade through freshwater streams, climb over boulders, and explore untouched limestone caves and spectacular rock formations. Enjoy the mesmerizing glowworm displays in privately owned caves that remain unspoiled by paths or electric lights.  Finish up your tour with a shower, a hot cup of coffee or tea, and some light refreshments. 

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Other Sightseeing Options in Waikato

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What people are saying about Waikato

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 22 reviews

Wonderful trip, excellent guide, showing the only two of us aboard, everything worth seeing. We really enjoyed the trip and can highly recommend it!

A guy who guide us, he is very nice well I believe everyone was so happy with this trip as he gave us a good hospitality.

Awesome,relaxing and a family must do! Thanks heaps Matt and Sam for the best experience of cathedral cove trip.

The driver on the boat informed all the travellers on the boat about the area and wild life etc

The staff was super friendly! We really enjoyed the activity! Highly recommended!