The 3.30 pm Scenic Cruise on Lake Taupō

Our 3.30 pm Scenic cruise to the Maori carvings leaves daily and will only be cancelled if there is extreme weather. Our delightful cruise makes sure that you get up close and personal to the culturally significant Ngātoroirangi Māori carvings and enjoy a boat cruise along the way.

Trip Highlights

A steaming hot cuppa and a home made muffin.

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:

The entire lake cruise time is 90 Minutes give or take. The Cruise Cat boat 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: $45 per person

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Discover Lake Taupo’s Heritage and ancestry by viewing the Ngatorangi Carvings

Māori Rock Carving Ngātoroirangi Taupo Lake Cruise cat expedition in Lake Taupo New Zealand

The Maori Carvings Scenic Cruise

There is hands down no better way to see the Maori rock carvings at Lake Taupo than from the deck of a Chris Jolly cruise boat. As you glide across the water, you’ll get up close and personal with these incredible works of art created by Matahi Whakataka Brightwell. You’ll also enjoy stunning views of the lake and its surroundings. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a cruise on Lake Taupo is a must-do experience.

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!

The rock alcove at Mine Bay became the canvas for one of the most extraordinary contemporary carvings New Zealand has ever seen.

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"
Chris jolly boat lake taupo nz kids

Fly Fishing Opportunities Taupo

Chris Jolly Outdoors offers guided fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout in the stunning Lake Taupo region. With over 30 years of experience, Chris Jolly and his team of guides are experts in both the art of fly fishing and the Taupo region. They offer a variety of different ways to fish, from river mouths and beaches to back-country rivers, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot for you.

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Rural Alpine Landscape New Zealand

Chris Jolly Outdoors also offers guided Fly Fishing and Raft Adventures in the Tongariro River

This is an exclusive activity that allows you to access pools unreachable by air or foot and glide across rushing waters to claim your Trophy Rainbow Trout. Chris Jolly Outdoors has been running river rafting trips in the Tongariro River for over 30 years. We pride ourselves on providing professional and personal service, and our guides are some of the most experienced in the business.

Book A Fly Fishing Trip Today

The Chris Jolly Outdoors Cruise Cat is an amazing way to experience the artistry of the Maori Rock Carvings, 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.

Do you cater to all dietary requirements?

Absolutely, with a little notice we can make sure that all members of your group are adequately catered for.

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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