5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© Unsplash
5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo

5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo: The Best Cruises & Lake Activities ā›µ [2024]

© Unsplash

The Best Kayaking, Sailing and Cruises on Lake Taupo

Contained within the crater of a supervolcano, Lake Taupo is a huge draw to the central North Island. But once you get to its shores in the town of Taupo, then what? How can you actually experience the vast lake before you? Luckily, we have the listicle to help. We’ll guide you through your kayaking options, the different types of Lake Taupo cruises and even fishing on this list of ways to experience Lake Taupo.

For more Taupo talk, don’t forget to head to the 10 Best Things to Do in Taupo.

1. Sail to the Maori Rock Carvings

One way to experience Lake Taupo is on a sailing cruise. What are Lake Taupo’s best cruises? Join either Sail Barbary (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook), Sail Fearless (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Taupo Sailing Adventures (on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook) for a couple of hours out on the water. Sailing tours often include light refreshments, onboard commentary and the opportunity for a swim in summer. The main event of any sailing tour, however, is stopping by the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings in the lake’s cliff face. You might also want to check out the 8 Best Sailing Tours in New Zealand for more places to cruise around the country.

Location: All sailing tours depart from the marina on Redoubt Street, Taupo.

Lake Taupo Best Cruises 5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Kayak on the Great Lake

To earn your view of the Maori Rock Carvings, join one of the kayaking tours to paddle your way to them. Canoe and Kayak Taupo offers a popular tour from Jerusalem Bay following the shoreline with towering cliffs (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). They also offer stand-up paddleboard hire (on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, Taupo Kayaking Adventures is another option for guided tours departing from Acacia Bay (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). Plus, check out the 10 Best Kayaking Lakes in New Zealand for more experiences like these.

Location: Canoe and Kayak – 54 Spa Road, Taupo. Taupo Kayaking Adventures – 2/876 Acacia Bay Road, Acacia Bay, Taupo.

5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© Pixabay

3. Take a Lake Cruise

Kick back on a relaxing catamaran or steamboat cruise on Lake Taupo’s best cruises. Listen to commentary on the Maori Rock Carvings, the volcanology and the cultural history of the lake as you soak in the scenery. Cruises include light refreshments, such as with Ernest Kemp Scenic Cruises (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), while afternoon cruises with Chris Jolly Outdoors (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) also include a fishing demonstration.

Location: All cruises depart from the marina on Redoubt Street, Taupo.

Lake Taupo Best Cruises 5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© Destination Lake Taupo - Tourism New Zealand

4. Experience Parasailing

Just try to resist riding with Lake Taupo’s parasailing crew after watching the colourful parachute go back and forth across the lake a few times! Big Sky Parasailing offers flights for up to three people with harnesses suitable for as young as five years old. Parasail flights are about 10-15 minutes long while the boat trip on the water is between 25 minutes to an hour depending on how many other cruisers are flying. Note that the activity is only available between October and April. See more places to parasail in the 5 Incredible Places to Do Parasailing in New Zealand.

Location: Tours depart from Redoubt Street, Taupo.

5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© Pxhere

5. Fish for Rainbow Trout

Finally, another way to experience Lake Taupo is by hopping on a fishing charter. Lake Taupo is renowned for its thriving population of rainbow trout thanks to strict fishing regulations. Don’t worry about a fishing licence if you’re going with one of Taupo’s fishing charters, however, as they’ll have the paperwork all sorted out for you. While Pinnacle Charters, LAKeFUN Taupo, Chris Jolly Outdoors and Taupo Lake Adventures are all worthy charters to join, you’ll find a lot more options at the Lake Taupo Marina.

Location: Fishing charters depart from Lake Taupo Marina on Redoubt Street, Taupo.

5 Ways to Experience Lake Taupo© NZPocketGuide.com

More Ways to Experience Lake Taupo and the Best Lake Taupo Cruises

That’s it for our guide to the best ways to experience Lake Taupo and the Lake Taupo best cruises. For more about Taupo, check out the following guides:


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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