Enjoy our Daily 5 pm 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. Take a stunning tour of Lake Taupō’s bays as you cruise along the coastline. The journey is 90 minutes with an extended viewing time and educational commentary of both the region, history and cultural significance of the carvings themselves. Enjoy a homemade muffin and a hot beverage of your choice, this is included in the price of your admission. Join us, and let our passionate tour guides and skipper make your holiday.

Cruise to Mine Bay and get up close and personal with this awe-inspiring culturally significant piece of art

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The Maori Carvings Scenic Cruise Includes:

  • Leaves daily at 5 pm in the evening takes 90 minutes
  • Suitable for all ages
  • Spacious viewing platforms
  • Warm enclosed areas, spacious, even for larger groups
  • Live educational commentary about the Maori rock carvings
  • Additional kid-friendly activities on board, colouring, a treasure hunt, and even driving the boat (ask the Skipper nicely)
  • If you are travelling in a group of 10 or more, please contact us directly on 07 378 0623 as we may be able to organize a bulk discount or a private charter.
  • Tea, coffee and freshly baked muffins are provided.

From $35 per person

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Tips for what to bring on your chartered boat ride:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Event appropriate clothing
  • Swimwear and a towel if you plan on swimming
  • 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!

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

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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"This was an unbelievable experience! The crew on the boat were so informative, highly recommend"
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Be Weather Wise On Your Cruise Boat Adventure

Weather in Taupō varies from 2 to 22 degrees Celsius depending on the season. It rarely snows in the Winter at lake level with the Summer months able to get quite humid, between 70-90%. Bearing this in mind, please bring seasonally appropriate clothing and polarized sunglasses.

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Maori Rock Art Plan Copy

What Does Ngätoroirangi’s Design Represent?

1 TikiTiki

Is the top knot that sits on top of Ngätoroirangi’s head and represents the ability to communicate to Io Matua Kore.

2 Matakite

Means the spiritual eye and represents the sixth sense. It is depicted here in the centre of the forehead because Ngätoroirangi was a visionary who could divine information from the past, present and future.

3 Aho/Mauri

Starts at the tip of the nose and runs up the centre of the nose, through the forehead to the bottom of the TikiTiki. This represents the connection to the spiritual realm.


Maori Rock Art Plan

4 Te Haa

Is the spirit wind and is depicted on the bridge of Ngätoroirangi’s nose. This represents discernment and intuition.

5 Whatukura

Ngätoroirangi’s upper lip, depicts the angel that represents the White Kotuku, the most sacred bird in Mäori culture. The White Kotuku carried the three baskets of knowledge from the spiritual realm to earth.

6 Matakokiri

Ngätoroirangi’s chin. It symbolises the Hokioi (Haast Eagle), messenger between God and man. The angel symbols on Ngätoroirangi’s face gave him the highest rank of a Tohunga Ahurei—high priest.

7 Mareikura

Ngätoroirangi’s top and bottom lip. It is symbolic of the waka (canoe) belonging to Pühaorangi, a powerful god from the celestial realm, and ancestor of Ngätoroirangi.

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.

Reliable and Experienced

After forty years in the industry, spending time with the team at Chris Jolly Outdoors is like coming home to someone you can trust

  • We’re a family just like you, headed by Simon Jolly with a number of the Jolly clan still working within the team
  • We’re a bunch of fishing, hiking, boating, biking, bush experts with experienced staff who can teach you a lot about the Taupo region.
  • Our Fly fishing guides are Orvis endorsed, a globally recognised mark of excellence


  • Gold Qualmark rated (5 star rating NZ)
  • Specialists in corporate, entertainment and bespoke itineraries in Taupō’s Outdoors.
  • Partners with Ngāti Tūwharetoa (TMGH) with a focus on growing Māori Tourism for Taupō
  • Proud conservationists with the future of our stunning Lake Taupo forefront in our minds

An Exceptionally Unique Team

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 certain; we will create a memorable experience for you that you’ll treasure forever.  Put yourself in the picture with us, book with us today.

More about us

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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
  • Experts in the outdoors – fly fishing, hiking, biking, hunting and cruising
  • Corporate events & team building
  • Venue hire on the water – whatever it is, from Nana Beryl’s 80th to your Christmas party, we can make it happen, leave the logistics to us


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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