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Quick Guide to the Best Lake Taupo Boat Cruises

There are many different boats that go to the Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupō. It can be hard to know which Boat Cruise to choose, steamboat, yacht, scenic boat, Pirate ship.

  • Are you looking for a romantic cruise for 2?

  • How about a fun family friendly boat cruise along Lake Taupō?

  • Are you interested in immersing yourself in the local iwi culture whilst cruising to the Maori Rock Carvings?

  • Do you love eating doughnuts and your life won’t be complete until you can cruise in a doughnut shaped boat on Lake Taupō? (spoiler alert – Doughboats)

Having lived here for so long, we have been on most of the Lake Taupō boat cruises. We have listed each Lake Taupō boat cruise and what we loved about each of them which will answer all your questions so that you can find the best, scenic boat cruise for you. I will link each cruise to their website so that you can see their most up to date special offers and book easily.

Barbary Sail Boat

The Barbary is an eco yacht experience where you are close to nature, you can feel the spray of the water and because of its eco electric engine... the Barbary Sail boat is completely silent. We thoroughly enjoyed sailing on the Barbary, dressed up warm on a cold day and perfect for swimming on a hot day. The Barbary also offers tea, coffee & drinks and often has pizza sailings too. Ideal for romantic couples, groups of friends and families with older children.

Chris Jolly

The Chris Jolly offers tea and coffee and freshly baked muffins. You can sit indoors and it has an upstairs downstairs. There is room inside for children to be able to move around and you can also go outside. There is plenty of space and room to move on the Chris Jolly so ideal for children and being inside it is handy for changes in the weather. Contact Chris Jolly regarding options to fish. The Chris Jolly also runs themed nights. Check out our video to see the Cultural sailings on Thursday evenings during the summer months. It is ideal for groups due to its size as well as families and couples. You can read more here.

Ernest Kemp

The Ernest Kemp is an old wooden Steam Boat. You are seated inside with the option to view outside also. It is another enjoyable experience and ideal for if the weather is rainy as you are seated inside. It has an Olde Worlde charm to it. My daughters have watched the Ernest Kemp cruising along Lake Taupō for years even choosing to have their birthday on it! The Ernest Kemp is ideal for couples and is safe for families and children too.


The Fearless is another sail boat although this one looks just like a pirate ship! We haven’t yet sailed on the Fearless but we plan to as any opportunity for the kids to dress up is not to be missed. If you enjoy a bit of fun and a laugh then the Fearless is for you. It seems ideal for groups of friends, fun families and couples.


Sure, the Doughboats don’t go to the Maori Rock Carvings but they definitely deserve an honourable mention due to the fact that they are so AWESOME! Whats not to love, they are in the shape of a doughnut, have electric engines, you drive them yourself, add good friends, fun family, yummy real actual doughnuts and pizza and you have the recipe for a memorable cruise on Lake Taupō. We haven’t yet been on the doughboats yet so check out this fab video for yourself. Ideal for a romantic cruise, family friendly activity, group of friends getting together.

Huka Falls River Cruise

Sure, it's not on Lake Taupō but the Huka Falls River Cruise deserves a mention because we absolutely love it! I've been on the Huka Falls River Cruise boat many times with my kids over the years and that feeling you get when the boat brings you right up to the foot of the Huka Falls is a feeling that will stay with you. The force of the water crushing down from the Huka Falls is powerful. You can read more about the cruise here.

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