Waikato
Garden & Park Tours

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Our most recommended Waikato Garden & Park Tours

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: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

3. 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: Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Vista Flight

4. 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 Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

5. From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

Take a trip through Middle Earth on a small-group shore excursion to the Hobbiton Movie Set from Tauranga. Located in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. See the original location which was rebuilt for the latest Hobbit films. This was the original setting for Peter Jackson’s famous trilogy "The Lord of the Rings". Learn about how this location was chosen and how it was constructed, plus which scenes were filmed here. Wander around the vegetable patches were Hobbits grow their food, with giant pumpkins lying around! Walk by the Mill and the famous Party Tree. Indulge in a complimentary beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing range, which encompasses two traditional ales, an apple cider or non-alcoholic ginger beer, all handcrafted and exclusive to the Hobbiton Movie Set. You also have a delicious range of traditional fayre available for purchase for lunch. Enjoy your food and drink in a comfortable armchair by the roaring fire or in the beer garden, overlooking the enchanting village.

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From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

6. 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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From Auckland: Coromandel Peninsula Full-Day Tour

7. From Auckland: Coromandel Peninsula Full-Day Tour

Explore the pristine white-sand beaches, lush native forests, and breathtaking natural formations of the Coromandel Peninsula on a full-day tour from Auckland. Hike through beautiful forest to the rugged coastline and marvel at the views of Cathedral Cove. Get up close to this cathedral-like arched cavern, featured in the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Dig your own shallow thermal pool in the tidal area of the beach and let yourself soak in a 60-degree bath on Hot Water Beach. Marvel at the spectacular views and the ever-changing landscape and stop en route to take magical photos. Travel throughout in air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz vehicle, on a small group tour and accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Make full use of your day as you hike, soak and swim and explore Hahei, Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove.

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Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

8. Rotorua: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Full-Day Trip

After being picked up from your hotel in Rotorua, enjoy a pleasurable and scenic drive through the New Zealand countryside and learn about the region from your professional local driver/ guide. Travel in the comfort of your modern and fully air-conditioned vehicle. Set off on a journey of discovery at the infamous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Sit back and relax as you take a magical boat ride beneath thousands of glowworms. Discover more about the 120 years of cultural and natural history on this fully guided tour and marvel at this mesmerizing natural light display as you silently glide through the wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.  Continuing your fantastical journey, step into Hobbiton, where an official guide will show you around this breathtaking and impressive movie set. Wander into Hobbit holes, including Bilbo and Frodo's home, and take a turn around their vegetable patches with giant pumpkins! At the end of the tour, be transported to Middle Earth as you enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon Inn. If you're looking to experience some of New Zealand's top attractions, or are an avid Lord of the Rings fan, then this is a truly unmissable and unforgettable experience! 

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Turangi: Family Rafting Adventure on Tongariro River

9. Turangi: Family Rafting Adventure on Tongariro River

Drive only a few minutes out of Turangi and start your rafting adventure on the lower reaches of the Tongariro River. The river is located in Tongariro National Park, famous for its awe-inspiring landscapes and fascinating wildlife.  The whole family will ride a series of 20+ rapids on this 8km journey, with professional raft guides that will ensure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves. You will learn about traditional Maori myths and legends unique to the area and your guides will keep you entertained with water education, safety tips and trivia about the Tongariro environment.  You will also enjoy a visit to the National Trout Centre, where you can feed the trout and enjoy some snacks. For those of you feeling game enough, you can also do some cliff-jumping and swim in the river, all within a safe and monitored environment.

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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

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.

Had a great trip. Calm, loved the fishing experience. Fun for kids. Nice food and drink provided. Great, funny tour guide

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

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