Tours and Tickets
Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise
4.5

Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise

By Ernest Kemp Cruises
Recommended by 93% of travellers
93% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
This unique boat cruise visits the Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay daily. Choose your departure time and board a replica steamboat for incredible photo ops of this art installation created in the 1970s. Enjoy viewing from inside or outdoor seating, and let your skipper know if you’d like to swim in crystal-clear Lake Taupo during summer.
from
AU$43.39
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-64, max of 38 per group
Duration: 110–120 minutes
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
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Written guide
Print or digital reading material such as a guide, map, brochure, etc.
: English
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Highlights
  • Steamboat ride to Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo
  • Skipper and crew provide live commentary
  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies are served
  • Free Wi-Fi is available on board for posting photos

  • Complimentary tea, coffee, and cookies. Free Wifi on board.
  • Entry/Admission - Maori Rock Carvings


Start:
  • Lake Taupo Cruises, 65 Redoubt Street, Taupō 3330, New Zealand
    Please go to the black Booking Office, 65 Redoubt St Taupo Marina to pick up your boarding pass. The boat is in berth 2, just by the Booking Office. The Booking Office is by the coffee caravan at the Marina.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Near public transportation
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 116518P1

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Most travellers can participate
    • Well behaved dogs welcome.
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 38 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    Which attractions will I visit with Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise?
    How much is Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise?
    Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise price starts from AU$43.14. Discover and book Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise on Tripadvisor
    What is the Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise cancellation policy?
    Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise?
    Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise is hosted by Ernest Kemp Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Ernest Kemp Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 116518P1

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    Itinerary
    • You'll start at
      Lake Taupo Cruises
      65 Redoubt Street, Taupō 3330, New Zealand
      Please go to the black Booking Office, 65 Redoubt St Taupo Marina to pick up your boarding pass. The boat is in berth 2, just by the Booking Office. The Booking Office is by the coffee caravan at the Marina.
      See address & details
    • 1
      Maori Rock Carvings
      Stop: 90 minutes - Admission included
      Sit back and relax cruising picturesque Lake Taupo to visit the famous Maori Rock Carvings with Ernest Kemp Cruises. Enjoy complimentary hot beverages, Free Wifi. Cruises between 90 -120 mins. Great photo opportunities. Comfortable seating inside and out. Live commentary of the lake and history of the local area.
      Read more
    • You'll return to the starting point
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Ernest Kemp Cruises
      658
      Taupo, New Zealand
      Joined in January 2019
    • 907JLeMay
      0 contributions
      Scenic Must Do
      We enjoyed a lovely, relaxing cruise on Lake Taupo. The captain and crew were attentive to guests and maintained a lively narrative. The rock carvings were wonderful to see.
      Written 5 February 2024
    • littlebigbear
      0 contributions
      Well worth it.
      Great staff. Sunset trip was well worth it. Great views and weather. Many people on other cruises on hen and stag nights (what a menace lol). Don’t know if I would go during the day.
      Written 1 January 2024
    • AndyP1998
      0 contributions
      Problems with the commentary
      You have a choice of 2 main companies to see the carvings, and in hindsight probably wished we had got on the other boat. At 1st could barely hear the commentary. Asked for the sound to be turned up and it was a little. When the captain turned up the sound for the 3rd time, it was probably sufficient. However there were too many screaming kids and adults who had just gone on the water to enjoy a few drinks and have a chat so listening to the commentary was a struggle. The carvings were excellent and to be fair this boat got closer to them.
      Written 25 January 2023
    • David M
      0 contributions
      Great boat trip
      We along with another couple really enjoyed our 12.30pm (1.5hr) boat trip over to view the Māori carving. Although it was a bit windy the boat handled the chop well and staff were excellent
      Written 11 October 2022
    • tekohiwi
      0 contributions
      Must do
      A wonderful trip out on Lake Taupo. Takes around 2 hrs and is very comfortable and relaxing. Good commentary and friendly staff. The carvings are awesome and they give you plenty of time for photos and viewing. Well worth it and highly recommend you do it.
      Written 17 April 2022
    • Tinacolwod
      0 contributions
      interesting
      Was an interesting cruise with informative friendly host. Lovely day weather was awesome. would recommend to those visiting Taupo
      Written 16 January 2022
    • DianneC516
      0 contributions
      Lovely gentle cruise
      With NZ borders closed to overseas tourists because of COVID-19, numbers are down at all attractions. The “Ernest Kemp” sailed from Taupo marina with just four paying passengers, plus the charming young woman who is the tour guide on board. The ship was built in 1980, but in an older style. There is seating both inside and out. It chugs gently rather than racing and bumping on the lake. The boat has been kept in excellent condition. All the paintwork is fresh and clean. A pleasure to be on board. Tea and coffee are complementary, and there is a liquor licence allowing the sale of a small range of beers and wine. The tour to the Māori carving takes just over an hour, and finishes with a run along the cbd lake front. The commentary is informative. We had perfect weather and it was exceedingly pleasant being out on the water.
      Written 5 March 2021
    • Susan N
      0 contributions
      Winter sale
      We were very lucky, super calm day. Clean well maintained boat, knowledge staff and they different over do the talking which makes a nice change. Free tea and coffee and a cookie
      Written 10 August 2020
    • chakendrick
      0 contributions
      Pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
      Lovely boat trip with knowledgeable staff. Without being asked, they reserved tables on the boat so our extended family could sit together. That consideration was appreciated.
      Written 22 July 2020
    • 332jaclynd
      0 contributions
      So much fun!
      Beautiful day, calm water and enjoyable history on the cruise. Food was great, and a nice beer on the water was enjoyable. Classic Tugboat style allowed for a very relaxing trip.
      Written 20 March 2020
    • ching272017
      0 contributions
      Swimming on the lake
      The evening tour was exordinary, hot pizza and cold beer and new zealand wines. Supprisingly they dropped a lether to water in the middle of the lake, I just could not help myself to drum in without swimmer and had a good swam.
      Written 8 March 2020
    • RobertCPickering
      0 contributions
      Superb
      We booked this tour and we all (6) enjoyed it enormously. We did the 17.00 hrs sailing. The boat was immaculately clean and tidy. The first mate was a joy, helpful, courteous and just a really nice young man. We were given a complimentary drink and pizza, other drinks could be purchased. The captain gave a short and informative talk and then let us take in the surroundings at our leisure. The lake was like a millpond, but be aware it can get a bit bumpy.
      Written 1 March 2020
    • 283quintonl
      0 contributions
      Great small group Lake Tour in Taupo
      We choose this tour because of others’ review first: it’s not a big boat and not many people on it; because of its small size, it could also reach area that big boat couldn’t access. The captain and the lady staff are both very nice, they even let my son try the boat steering wheel for a “steering certificate”. The captain is also very knowledgeable, explained the tour and information we need to know about the site! The tour also includes 10mins of lake swimming that the brave ones could give a try in the cold lake. Highly recommend to others who is looking for a small, quite, and fun lake tour!
      Written 23 January 2020
    • adventureahoy1
      0 contributions
      Great little cruise
      Friendly staff. Awesome little cruise. Very informative commentator/cruise driver. Comfortalbe.They allow you to swim in the lake near the maori rock carvings, an added bonus.
      Written 14 January 2020
    • JimmyK1243
      0 contributions
      A great time
      We booked this last minute, but were very happy with the service. Great boat, great time seeing Taupo from the lake! Absolutely worth it.
      Written 9 January 2020
    See all 658 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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    4.5
    453 reviews
    Excellent
    317
    Very good
    107
    Average
    20
    Poor
    7
    Terrible
    2

    fredduffield
    Birmingham, UK2 contributions
    Feb 2020
    We only had one full day in Taupo and liked the idea of a lake cruise. We went to the harbour and found the Ernest Kemp booking office. Linda was on duty and offered us wonderful service. She emphasised that the weather was poor with strong winds making it impossible to guarantee that we would be able to see the Maori rock carvings. We decided to give it a go. The lady captain kept us very well informed throughout the trip and, despite all the difficulties, manoeuvred the boat so that we could get to the stern and see the rock carvings. I recommend the whole operation.
    Written 5 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    How cool, we love receiving great feedback like this and the staff involved have all been shown this awesome praise. We are very proud of the little team we have here, it is always nice to receive the recognition they deserve :) Thank you very much for choosing to cruise with us, despite the challenging wind conditions, it was our pleasure to have had you onboard.
    Written 6 February 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    andaly69
    Plimmerton, New Zealand27 contributions
    Jan 2021 • Couples
    There were six of us booked on the cocktail cruise which is a 2 hour cruise on the Lake. When we turned up we were taken to a table on the boat the hostess (Renee) had reserved for us as it was a full cruise and she wanted to make sure we had a table together. So thoughtful. What a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours sailing on Lake Taupo to see the Maori carvings. We were given a complimentary glass of wine/beer each and were able to buy more. The skipper was great too. We could not have wished for a better crew and want to say Renee is one of the most amazing hostesses we have ever come across. What an asset she us to the Ernest Kemp. Well worth a go
    Written 29 January 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    We greatly appreciate this review of your experience, thank you very much for taking the time to leave us one. Our team gives their very best to provide A class service for each passenger onboard. While there is not usually allocated seating, we encourage our team to consider any passenger needs when boarding and make these arrangements as required. Thank you for your kind assessment, we agree - Renee is a shining example of the hospitality shown by the team at Ernest Kemp Cruises. It has been our pleasure hosting you all onboard!
    Written 3 February 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Grace
    1 contribution
    Jan 2021 • Family
    Today we were on the cruise to the carvings when we witnessed the captain yelling/screaming at 3 young children who were swimming innocently towards the carvings from another boat. He yelled at them to get out of the way even though the lake is public and free of use to the wider community. The children’s father who was on their boat that was not far way from where they were swimming looked very disturbed and distressed by the actions and responses shown by the caption. Overall a very poor form shown by the management staff on the boat and I would not recommend nor take this cruise again. It is a real shame that people can not share the beautiful lake!!
    Written 14 January 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    KarenM1_10
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan1,084 contributions
    Feb 2020
    We booked the 2 hour boat ride to see the carvings. The boat and crew were very nice and welcoming. The weather was perfect and therefore the ride was enjoyable. Lake Taupo is very beautiful and the views were wonderful. We did the morning tour and coffee/tea was provided along with a snack. However, we were disappointed with the carvings when we found out that they have only recently been created and they just aren’t awe inspiring. Consider them a somewhat interesting, large piece of art that just is not worth spending several hours to see. We also ended up anchoring for about 20 minutes so 2 people could swim, which we thought was a waste of time. I did not recall seeing this option available when we booked. Definitely wear sun screen and bring a hat and water bottle if you decide to sit outside. Inside seating is also available.
    Written 19 April 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Karen. Thank you very much for leaving a review of your experience with us, we are appreciative of all feedback. Thank you for the detail in highlighting aspects that you enjoyed, I am sorry you felt parts of your experience weren't up to your expectations. I do feel I need to point out that our brochure and website state during warmer months, we can offer a short swim stop on our cruises if the time and weather conditions allow for it. These swims are only ever approx 5-10 minutes in length. Our maximum cruise time of 2 hours does not allow for a longer stop. The world famous Maori Rock Carvings are a relatively recent contemporary art work, completed 40 years ago by a team of skilled artists and famed Master Carver, Matahi Brightwell. We give a brief overview on our website of how and when they were created, I am sorry you mistook them for being much older. We do not advertise them being so. Thank you very much for having joined us, we do appreciate your custom.
    Written 9 May 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Anona
    8 contributions
    Feb 2020
    Excellent commentary,
    Trip included viewing Acacia bay on way to the Rock carvings.
    Were supplied, tea and coffee and water plus biscuits.
    Had beautiful day. Time for swimming as well. Lovely boat , gave everyone access to the carvings so we didn’t have to push through to get pictures,
    Written 11 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Thank you very much for the review, I am glad you enjoyed your time cruising with us! We endeavour to create a tailored experience for all of our guests, each cruise is a little bit different. Often we limit how many people we will reasonably take on board , so as to minimise a crowded atmosphere, especially if the weather conditions call for it. Our pleasure to have had you with us.
    Written 7 April 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    WorldTravla7
    Cairns, Australia6,042 contributions
    I randomly rocked up at the boat terminal and bought a ticket from the tour office for the 1.5 hour cruise & Māori rock carving tour. There were a few companies offering cruises to choose from but Ernest Kemp had the best timetable, the boat looked great & it was the right length at 1.5 hrs. There was plenty of room onboard & you could help yourself to refreshments up the front. Lake Taupo is gigantic so you only get to cruise part of the lake, but you get a great sense of its sheer size and some wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. It is the largest lake in NZ (almost twice as big as the next largest) in a country full of big lakes & is also the largest in Australasia and the same size as Singapore! It’s 616 square kilometres in size and up to 163m deep in places.

    The gentleman who was looking after the guests on board was excellent & made time for everyone & ensured their needs were met.

    The highlight were the Māori rock carvings. I was surprised to learn these are not ancient carvings but we’re done in the 70s & are not much older than me! A master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell completed 10-years of training with Māori elders & then came to his grandmother's land at Lake Taupō to undertake these amazing carvings. The boat stopped and did a few turns so everyone got an opportunity to see the carvings up close & take photos. They also fed a couple of ducks who were hanging around near the boat.

    All in all this was a top little boat tour, well priced at NZD $30 & well worth doing.

    P..S there is a nest little cafe called Stir near the boat terminal that does amazing crepes & has heating! I sat inside half an hour before the cruise as it was freezing cold that day and snowed in the morning!
    Written 8 April 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Tour812974
    Auckland, New Zealand38 contributions
    A friend had recommended that we go on a boat trip to look at the Maori carvings. As a result we headed down to the lakefront and the time of the cruise suited us. Smallish boat but certainly not cramped. Tea and coffee complimentary and the skipper gave a commentary on local information and got the boat as close as he could to ensure that we had a good view of the carvings.
    Written 1 April 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    A big thank you to your friend for the lovely recommendation! We are pleased to hear there was a cruise departing that fit neatly into your day. We appreciate you joining us for a scenic cruise aboard Ernest Kemp, Many Thanks
    Written 8 April 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    jaszoe
    Australia7 contributions
    Mar 2021
    Amazing trip on the Lake to see the Maori Rock Carvings. Myself, husband, sister in law and elderly mother in law (89 years old) loved it.

    Weather played its part for us and doing this on a Friday meant not many other vessels on the Lake,
    Written 6 March 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate your lovely review of your experience. Yes, one of the benefits of taking a mid-week break right now - popular activities are not so hectic! Cheers :)
    Written 27 March 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Kathy
    573 contributions
    Feb 2020
    We had an enjoyable afternoon cruise on the Ernest Kemp. The boat was clean and comfortable, inside and out, and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. We took the cruise for the sole purpose of seeing the Maori Rock carvings, which were quite impressive...but in all honesty, we enjoyed riding on this very cool little boat every bit as much as seeing the rock carvings!
    Written 22 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Great feedback, Thank you very much for writing a review. The Maori Rock Carvings are remarkable and they are a must-see while in Taupo. We are glad we could be your hosts on your voyage of discovery out on our Great Lake, our Replica Steamboat is an iconic way to enjoy a few hours relaxing on the water. Thank you very much for coming along!
    Written 7 April 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Janice W
    New Plymouth, New Zealand44 contributions
    Aug 2020 • Couples
    From start to finish our trip on the Ernest Kemp was outstanding. We were warmly welcomed by Izzy and, due to social distancing, were shown to our table. They were all separated by perspex screens but we were allowed to go outside and sit on the deck if we preferred. This we did and it was a perfect winter's day with no wind, blue skies and the lake was completely flat. We tootled sound the bays and checked out the Māori rock carvings in Mine Bay before returning. We were out over 2 hours and the cruise included a complimentary wine or beer plus tea, coffee and biscuit. You can buy snacks, water and alcohol on board.
    Written 17 August 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us, it sounds like you had a great time! We are treated to some gorgeous winter days here, I am happy you were fortunate enough to join us on one such day. Thank you for joining us, it was our pleasure having you onboard.
    Written 20 August 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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    Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise provided by Ernest Kemp Cruises