The 8.30 am Scenic Cruise on Lake Taupō

Enjoy our Daily 8.30 am Scenic Cruise of Maori Carvings on Lake Taupō. Get up close and personal to the Ngātoroirangi Māori carvings, and appreciate the culture and craftsmanship in a relaxed setting.

Trip Highlights

Educational commentary of both the region, history and cultural significance of the Maori Rock carvings themselves.

The Cruise to Plant Project

Chris Jolly Outdoors is committed to planting trees in an effort to protect and enhance Aotearoa’s natural environment. All passengers on Chris Jolly Outdoors scenic cruises will have a dollar from their ticket price go towards the planting project with The Opepe Farm Trust.

What’s Provided:

The journey is 90 minutes round trip on Lake Taupō from the Taupo Boat harbour and back. Enjoy a homemade muffin and a hot beverage of your choice, this is included in the price of your admission.

Transport and Timing:

Trip time is 90 Minutes give or take. The Cruise Cat is moored at The Taupo Marina and you should arrive at Berth 4, Taupo Boat Harbour, on Redoubt Street to embark at least 15 minutes prior.

*The Cruise cat is stroller friendly and has wheelchair access though not a disabled toilet on board. 

Price: $49 per person

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Visit this world-famous artwork by cruise and marvel at its intricate details up close!

Lake Taupo Charter Levante Riviera 4000 Offshore Sedan Aerial View in Mine Bay at rock carvings

About The Maori Carvings Scenic Cruise

The Chris Jolly Scenic Cruise Takes place on board the 52 Ft Catamaran boat that is also available for private charter. The whole trip only takes an hour and a half and includes a cup of tea and a home-baked muffin. The cruises leave daily and depart at 8.30, 10.30, 1.30, 3.30 and 5pm. The boat is plenty spacious, with outdoor viewing platforms and indoor lounges.

Tips for what to bring on your chartered boat ride:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Event appropriate clothing
  • Warm layers
  • Sunhat
  • Boat friendly footwear

Visiting Taupō New Zealand? Some helpful Information:

  • The Chris Jolly staff are English speaking
  • There is no dangerous marine life dwelling in the lake.
  • No poisonous insects or snakes or spiders (no snakes at all)
  • New Zealand is underneath the hole in the Ozone layer, therefore the UV rays are harsher than in other countries.
  • You’ll always receive the best Kiwi Hospitality!

Always Be Prepared For Your Holiday

Cruising around Lake Taupo on a boat is a great way to see the sights and enjoy the scenery. Taupo weather can change quickly, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing. There are many activity options available on the lake, so be sure to research what interests you before you go, Chris Jolly also offers private boat charters, hiking and fishing activity options. Always remember to bring sunscreen and insect repellent, as the sun can be quite strong and the bugs can be pesky. By following these tips, you will be sure to have a spectacular holiday around Lake Taupo.

"This was an unbelievable experience! The crew on the boat were so informative, highly recommend"

Take a Cruise through Lake Taupō’s cultural history

History of the Māori Rock Carvings

The Ngātoroirangi story begins with Te Huatahi Susie Gilbert of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Susie asked her grandson Matahi Whakataka Brightwell to create a likeness of her ancestor Ngātoroirangi on a totara tree to create a permanent connection for her family to the land.  When Matahi arrived in Taupō, there was no totara tree to carve, so he journeyed onto the lake for inspiration and found the rock alcove at Mine Bay. The alcove then became the canvas for one of the most extraordinary contemporary carvings in New Zealand. Ngātoroirangi is surrounded by smaller sculptures depicting tupuna (ancestors) and kaitiaki (guardians). Ngātoroirangi towers 14-metres above Lake Taupō and is regarded as a significant North Island tourist attraction. Ngātoroirangi is a true showpiece of New Zealand’s cultural artistic ability.

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"Blown away by the location"
Lake Taupo Kayaking group maori rock carving mine bay Lake Taupo Ngātoroirangi Māori Rock Carvings

When you think of New Zealand’s most famous natural landmark, what comes to mind?

Is it the stunning landscapes and wildlife found throughout this island nation or maybe one thing in particular-the incredible fish that call Lake Taupo home! With an abundance wild trout populations (more than 30 species!), crystal clear waters up until 13 meters deep where we find native koura crayfish living alongside their respective ecosystems. This makes for some serious fishing opportunities so get your tackle ready before setting out on trip with us soon!

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Lake Taupo New Zealand ruapehu

History of The Maori Rock Carving’s Namesake

In Māori tradition, Ngatoro-i-rangi (Ngatoro) is a tohunga (priest) who played an important role in the settlement of New Zealand by the Māori people, who originated in Hawaiki on the Arawa canoe. He is the forefather of Ngati Tūwharetoa and his travels around Lake Taupō and up onto the Volcanic Plateau provide justification for their claim to those territories.

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Mount Ngarahoe New Zealand

Lake Taupo was the site of one of nature’s most spectacular explosions.

The Oruanui eruption, 27 thousand years ago shot volcanic debris up to 50 kilometres away and created a caldera that is now home not only to this beautiful lake but also to many residents and holidaymakers who enjoy its calm waters on a daily basis.
The giant blast levelled the entire island with a thick layer of fine ash which then became fertile soil for modern-day Kiwis to farm.

Plume of water on Lake Taupo NZ

The Geographical Intrigue of Lake Taupo

The surface often appears dotted with pale balls, which are pumice stones floating on water and it’s also home to some incredible native wildlife.
The waters have a steep drop-off from shoreline average depth of 100m deep at its deepest point 186 meters below sea level.

Taking the journey on the Chris Jolly Outdoors Cruise Cat to the Maori Rock Carvings is a truly magical way to experience Lake Taupō, click here to book now.


The Cruise To Plant Project

Chris Jolly Outdoors is committed to planting trees in an effort to protect and enhance Aotearoa’s natural environment. All passengers on Chris Jolly Outdoors scenic cruises will have a dollar from their ticket price go towards the planting project with The Opepe Farm Trust. This is one of the first planting initiatives for Chris Jolly with the future goals being to offset the boat charter service and to become carbon neutral. The partnership with The Opepe Farm Trust will help to ensure that the right trees are planted for sustainability. The Trust is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations and has the knowledge and expertise to guide the project. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against climate change and help to preserve our natural environment.

Have a closer look at our initiative

Your Taupō Activity Partner

As the trusted activity partner for things to do in Taupō for forty years, Chris Jolly Outdoors will take care of you during your stay here.  From absolute relaxation and fishing crystal pools to exciting hikes in the wilderness; we are the go-to guides to tick off that bucket list.

In Taupō, the possibilities are truly endless. But one thing is sure; we will create a memorable experience for you that you’ll treasure forever.  Put yourself in the picture with us, and book with us today.

More about us

What We Offer

  • Five private charter boats for small or large functions up to 140 pax with full catering/bar/fishing equipment and an exclusive personal crew
  • Access to private land, water and know-how of local’s secret spaces
  • Corporate events & team building.

Reliable and Experienced

  • We’re a family headed by Chris’s son Simon Jolly with a number of the Jolly clan still working within the team
  • We’re a bunch of fishing, hiking, boating, biking, and bush experts with experienced staff who can teach you a lot about the Taupō region.
  • We’ve spent forty years in the industry taking care of people’s holidays.

Our Qualifications

  • Gold Qualmark rated (5 star rating NZ)
  • Our Fly fishing guides are Orvis endorsed, a globally recognised mark of excellence
  • Partners with Ngāti Tūwharetoa (TMGH) with a focus on growing Māori Tourism for Taupō


Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell shares his story

Master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell shares his story behind the remarkable Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings in Lake Taupō, New Zealand.

What do the smaller sculptures around the Māori carvings represent?

The smaller sculptures surrounding Ngātoroirangi depict tupuna (ancestors) and kaitiaki (guardians) that are pivotal to the history of the local Māori tribe.

How big are the Ngātoroirangi rock carvings?

The Ngātoroirangi rock carvings are a staggering 14 meters tall, they were created by sculptor Matahi Brightwell and reflect his ancestry.

How old are the Māori carvings?

The Ngātoroirangi carvings took four years to complete and were finished in 1980.

Can you swim in Lake Taupō?

We would advise a good quality wetsuit if you're going to attempt it in winter! but December through to March it is absolutely beautiful to get in to that fresh crystal clear water.

Are any of your activities child friendly?

Absolutely, we recommend the Maori Carving scenic cruise. Our boats are stocked with full amenities and we even have treasure hunts and colouring-in sheets for the kids. Our Cruise Cat Boat has cosy indoor areas if the day is looking a bit overcast or to tuck up the little one who isn't quite feeling it. Our viewing platform means we can get you super close to the carvings for a unique culture filled experience you can chalk up to an educational day out with the fam.

Is jumping into the lake allowed off the boat?

It is encouraged! Show us your best bomb, the more water spray, the better.

Contact Us

in New Zealand

phone Icon073780623

from overseas

phone Icon+64 7 378 0623

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