The 3.30 pm Scenic Cruise on Lake Taupō

The perfect way to spend your afternoon on the lake! 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 picturesque cruise, perfect photo opportunities and on-board commentary.

What’s Provided

Educational commentary of the region, history and cultural significance of the Māori Rock carvings. Entertainment for the kids. Enjoy a complimentary muffin and hot beverage of your choice while on board.

Transport and Timing:

Timing & Location

Departure: 3.30pm
Boarding:  3.15pm
Duration: 90 minutes
Our boat, the Cruise Cat, is moored at the Lake Taupō Marina and you will depart from Berth 4, Taupo Boat Harbour, on Redoubt Street.


  • The Cruise Cat is stroller friendly and has wheelchair access though not a disabled toilet on board.
  • The cruise goes ahead rain or shine, and will only be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.
  • Our guides speak English, but there is the option for commentary in many languages.

Tickets $49 per person

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Cruise And Plant Project Chris Jolly Updated

Every cruise raises funds to plant trees in our community.

Explore the Cruise & Plant initiative

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

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

About our Māori 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 takes an hour and a half and includes a complimentary muffin and a cuppa. This daily cruise leaves multiple times throughout the day. The boat is plenty spacious, with outdoor viewing platforms and indoor lounges.

While stopped at the destination of Mine Bay, the boat is maneuvered to allow for all guests to see the carvings up close, marvel at the intricacy, and get that swoon-worthy photograph.

What an excellent operation they run extremely friendly staff very knowledgeable on local iwi traditions past and present.

– Vicki M

What to bring

  • Sunscreen and sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Warm layers
  • Boat friendly footwear

Visitor Information

  • The Chris Jolly staff are English speaking
  • There is nothing dangerous dwelling in the lake
  • No snakes, or poisonous insects
  • Our thin ozone layer means you can get sunburnt quickly

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Taupō while cruising to the amazing Maori Rock Cravings.

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.

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The Legacy of our Ancestors

The main carving is a depiction of Ngātoroirangi, an esteemed tohunga (priest), whom laid claim to the land of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. This 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.

Māori Rock Carving Ngātoroirangi on the edge of Lake Taupo

We had great family time on cruise. Kids really enjoy it and staff on cruise very friendly and helpful.

– Karam Kaur

Lake Taupo Ngātoroirangi Māori Rock Carvings

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

You’d be hard pressed to choose a landmark that’s more famous, and more beautiful than Lake Taupō!

Formed by the most violent eruption of the last 5,000 years, Lake Taupō is a what remains of a caldera volcano. These days its a quiet moana, with beautiful crystal clear water, and home to introduced trout which give a great fishing opportunity. The pristine freshwater is ideal for swimming all year around (though we recommend a wet suit, or extreme bravery in winter).

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Explore the beauty of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest freshwater lake from our Cruise Cat.

What We Offer

  • Private charter boats with catering/bar/fishing equipment and crew
  • Access to private land, water and know-how of local’s secret spaces
  • Functions, corporate events & team building

Reliable & Experienced

  • Over forty years in the central North Island tourism industry
  • We’re a family business, with local Taupō knowledge
  • Our staff are experienced adventure experts

Adventure Qualified

  • 5 Star Rated Gold Qualmark
  • Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guides
  • Trip Advisor’s Travellers Choice 2023
  • Partnered with Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Your Taupō Activity Partner

From beautiful lake views, to fishing crystal pools, to scenic hikes in the central North Island wilderness; Chris Jolly Outdoors are the go-to guides to tick off that bucket list.

In Taupō, the adventure possibilities are truly endless. We guarantee one thing – we’ll create a memorable experience for you that you’ll treasure forever.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are any of your activities child friendly?

Yes! We recommend the Māori Carving scenic cruise. We have activities onboard for kids and cosy indoor areas to chill out in. Our cruise gets you super close to the carvings for a unique experience you can call an educational day out with the fam.

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.

How old are the Māori carvings?

The Ngātoroirangi carvings are over 40 years old. They took four years to complete and were finished in 1980.

How big are the Ngātoroirangi rock carvings?

The Ngātoroirangi rock carvings are a staggering 14 meters tall.

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.

Is Lake Taupō a volcano?

Lake Taupō is a caldera volcano. Its last eruption about 1800 years. These days, Lake Taupō is the largest freshwater lake in the southern hemisphere.

Can kids drive the boat?

Yes! If you ask the skipper nicely.

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