Things to do in
Taupo

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Our most recommended things to do in Taupo

Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

1. 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.

Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

2. 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 manoeuvrability 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.

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.

Tandem Skydive Experience in Taupo

4. 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 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 (or 15,000ft, 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 kilometers per-hour for 40 or 60 seconds. At 5,000 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: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

5. 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: 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: 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.

Taupo: 18,500-foot Skydive Experience

8. 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.  

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

9. 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.

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Taupo

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What people are saying about Taupo

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 262 reviews

Kids were so excited they didnt last in their seats for the first 3mins. The Maori carvings were amazing, hearing the history of it and also the fishing demonstration was a win. We even got to see a trout being caught on the line. Great experience!

Fantastic ride of your love you won’t regret it has an awesome driver of the boat Phil made it fun and a great memory we won’t forget!!

Lovely views good history information given by captain welcoming lovely by both men doing charter will do again

It was a most excellent experience. The skipper was very knowledgeable and made the trip very pleasant

Amazing cruise! Such funny and friendly staff who made my experience a great one. Highly recommend!!