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Things to do in
Taupo

Our most recommended things to do in Taupo

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.

Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

4. Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

Your thrilling adventure will take you along the beautiful Waikato river environment, lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff faces, and natural hot springs. Enjoy the best water-level view of Huka Falls from the unique vantage point on the jet boat. The maneuverability of the Hukafalls jet boat is legendary. Be in awe at the speed and precision in which you torpedo gracefully down the river to play in the tail of the mighty whitewater of the Huka Falls. Pass by clouds of steam rising where a hot stream joins the river. See the Huka Prawn Park, the Wairakei Geo-Thermal Power Station, and the Aratiatia Dam. Zoom past sheer rock cliffs with just centimeters to spare, exhilarated and secure in the knowledge that your driver is an expert.

Tandem Skydive Experience in Taupo

5. Tandem Skydive Experience in Taupo

Start your day in style with a complimentary pick-up from your accommodation in a stretch Hummer. Head to the drop zone, a 10 minute drive from the town center. On arrival, let the experienced and friendly team look after you. Go through the safety briefing and the available video/photo options. Be kitted up with all the equipment you need for a safe experience. You even get a free buff headband to wear during the jump and have as a keepsake.  Your skydive begins with a scenic plane ride up to 12,000ft, 15,000ft or 16,500ft (depending on the option you choose). You’ll begin to get incredible views of Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe – also known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. 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. After exiting the plane you will free fall at speeds of 200 kilometres per-hour for 45, 60 or 70 seconds. At 5,500 feet your tandem master will deploy the parachute and you can catch your breath while taking in the stunning views of the Lake Taupo area. You will then float back to earth with a relaxing parachute ride with your tandem master, arriving safe and soundly back at the drop zone. Once back on the ground it’s time for a high five and a hug. Check out how nervous you look in your exclusive Jump Photo before being dropped back to Taupo. 

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

6. 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

7. 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: Waikato River Jetboating Adventure

8. Taupo: Waikato River Jetboating Adventure

Discover the rush of jetboating over Waikato river's whitewater rapids on this tour in Waikato. Stay dry on your trip with the included spray jackets and glasses. Keep your hands warm with heated handrails as you gaze out at locations from famous films like 'The Hobbit.' Check-in at the activity provider's office and get set up with your lifejacket and your optional spray jackets and glasses. Hop aboard the boat and embark on an exhilarating adventure on the scenic Waikato river.  Feel the rush as the boat twists, turns, and jumps at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour. Ride through the Waikato River's biggest commercially operated Rapids. Stop at some famous filming locations, such as where the 'barrel scene' was filmed for 'The Hobbit.' Immerse yourself in nature and get off-the-beaten track as you keep an eye out for local wildlife. Take in sights like the bubbling geothermal water at the river’s edge. 

Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings Kayaking Tour

9. 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

10. 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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What people are saying about Taupo

Overall rating

4.7
(391 reviews)

A great opportunity and where better to do it than over lake Taupō. Despite we were delayed due to weather conditions the hosts there were very accommodating and when the weather was in peak condition a quick call to say we had a green light to jump was perfect. The master divers were phenomenal, really friendly and had great sense of humour. 15,000ft or above is best just to appreciate the free fall and the surroundings as you glide back down

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 🤩

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.

We did our self guided to her and drove to the park. It’s well worth it. Easy walk, and very beautiful scenery.

Increíble landscape and lots of geothermal activity. Would go there again!