Waikato
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Waikato Outdoor Activities

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

2. 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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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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From Auckland: Small Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour

6. 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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Lake Karapiro: Evening Kayak Glowworm Tour

7. Lake Karapiro: Evening Kayak Glowworm Tour

Your guided tour commences in the late afternoon or early evening. As you paddle along the southern end of Lake Karapiro, crossing over the old submerged Horahora Village and power station that produced electricity for the early Waihi goldfields. Learn about local Maori and early European history of the area while enjoying the twilight and silence of being on the water as the day draws to an end. The magic begins as you paddle slowly up the Pokaiwhenua stream and through a spectacular canyon carved out by water over many hundreds of years. Native ferns and trees and bird life surround you and you may even hear brown trout breaking the water's surface. When darkness falls you will drift silently back downstream, surrounded by glow worms on either side sparkling like tiny Christmas lights.

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Whangamata: Whenuakura Island Guided Experiece

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

9. 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.

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Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

10. Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Explore the stunningly beautiful and popular area of Tongariro which is made up of 3 volcanic peaks. In this audio tour, learn about the volcanic activity and the craters that are found in the area like the Red, Central and North Crater. This 7-hour hike will tell you about Māori myths and legends as you walk along this legendary area that was also made famous by the filming of The Lord of the Rings. You will also see the Lower Mangatepopo Valley, Mount Ruapehu, Soda Springs, Upper Mangatepopo Valley, Ngauruhoe Summit, the Oturere Valley Lookout, the Emerald Lakes, Blue Lake, Lake Rotoaira with North Views, Ketetahi Springs, and the Totara Forest. Your tour. Your way.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Waikato

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

What people are saying about Waikato

Mark and Neve were friendly and chatty putting everyone at ease. They knew the area well and had lots of background knowledge to share. It was well worth it. A gorgeous sunny autumn day out on the water seeing everything so clearly from the water that would remain unseen from on land. The glass boat allowed a wonderful view of the fish and sea floor, seeing how much of a pest Kina have become outside the marine sanctuary was an eye opener. Mark did a fantastic job of positioning the boat to allow for great photos. Thanks guys.

This was such a lovely adventure. Friendly crew and we were so relaxed, hanging out on the bean bags and enjoying the magnificent scenery around us. The quick dip and snorkel was so cool, saw the most beautiful fish. And a hot cup of coffee with delicious home made banana bread to top it of...

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

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

Mark was a wonderful guide, so informative and friendly.