Waikato
Viewing Points

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Our most recommended Waikato Viewing Points

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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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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Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

5. 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.

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Taupo: 18,500-foot Skydive Experience

6. Taupo: 18,500-foot Skydive Experience

Feel on top of the world with an epic 18,500-foot skydive. This skydive is the highest altitude in Taupo, and a must-do if you want to skydive in New Zealand. From up to 18,500 feet (that's nearly 20,000 feet above sea level), you will receive approximately 75 seconds of free fall. Your skydive will begin with a scenic plane ride, where you’ll see incredible views of Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu and on a clear sunny day, you’ll be able to see from coast-to-coast of the Central North Island. Once you’ve reached altitude, the doors will open, you’ll sit on the edge of the plane with your tandem master seated behind you. As you plunge from the plane into the fresh air, you’ll experience the best adrenaline rush of your life.   Reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour, the thrill of the free fall is something you will never forget. After an insane 75 seconds of free fall, you will then float back to earth with a relaxing parachute ride with your tandem master, arriving safe and sound back at the drop zone.  

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Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

7. Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to head west towards the stunning Waitomo region. Along the way admire the incredible hydro dams, beautiful farmland, race horses and the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at the caves, stop by Waitomo homestead for lunch, and a little surprise too. Once in Waitomo, explore the ancient and amazing caves and marvel at the many cave formations including Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Lime Columns before descending even further underground for your Glowworm Grotto experience. Board your glow-worm boat for a cruise on the grotto river with thousands of glowworms sparkling above you. Unique to New Zealand for over 120 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. On the guided trip back to Auckland the sights continue with New Zealand's longest river, Huntly power station and the Maori Queens’ burial site.

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Whitianga: Scenic Flight on Coromandel Peninsula

8. Whitianga: Scenic Flight on Coromandel Peninsula

Discover the Coromandel Peninsula from a unique aerial perspective with a scenic flight over Mercury Bay. Departing from the coastal town of Whitianga, head north to Matarangi, Whangapoua, and New Chums Beach. Travel along the coast with stunning views of the Great Mercury Islands, Opito Bay, and Great Barrier in the distance. Fly over white-sand beaches, high clifftops, as well as secluded bays and coves only visible by plane or boat. From there, continue down the coast to Hahei and Hot Water Beach. Finally arrive at the critically-acclaimed Cathedral Cove and fly over Cooks Beach before heading back to Whitianga.

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From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

9. From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

Travel in comfort in a luxury Mercedes van from Auckland to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Your trip begins with a pick-up at your preferred location in Auckland. Enjoy a scenic 2-hour drive into Waikato with stops for photos en route.  On arrival, spend 30-45 minutes at the official Hobbiton Gift Shop and have a chance to grab a drink or a bite at the famous Shire's Rest Café. Next, embark on a 2-hour guided tour of the 1,250-acre sheep farm with amazing views of the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will then lead the way through the 12-acre site that’s home to Hobbit Holes, the Old Mill and the Double-Arched Bridge. Stop for a complimentary drink at The Green Dragon Inn. At the end of the Hobbiton Movie Set visit, head back to Auckland along the scenic roads of Waikato, arriving at approximately 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM.

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Taupo: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

10. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in Waikato

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What people are saying about Waikato

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 30 reviews

Genuine kiwi welcome guidance and hospitality on arrival. Correct local history on both tribal boundaries both Maori and pakeha influences. Great geothermal information in regards to changes within the landscape. Excellent pronunciation of Maori words in regards to forecasting history. Staff well equipped for delivering a top of the range experience. Felt safe on board and understood evacuation and health and safety procedures delivered by skipper over loud speaker. Awsome work team

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.

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

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

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