Waikato
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Waikato Outdoor Activities

Whitianga: 3-Hour Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

1. Whitianga: 3-Hour Sailing Trip to Cathedral Cove with Swim

Delight in a 3-hour sailing trip from Whitianga and see the iconic sights of Mercury Bay and Cathedral Cove. Lend a hand with the sailing or simply sit back and relax on comfy beanbags and admire the picturesque scenery. Meet your guide in Whitianga and board Fully Charged, a fast racing catamaran. After a short introductory session to the boat's main facilities and safety systems, set sail out to the calm waters of the bay. As you sail, spot the area's most notable sights with the help of your guide. Keep your cameras ready as you sail past Cathedral Cove. Swim or snorkel in the marine reserve with the wonderful sea life, or simply chill out on board and soak up the scenery. The tour concludes back at the starting point in Whitianga. The morning tour option includes freshly-brewed coffee, chilled organic juice, and a freshly-baked snack. The afternoon tour option includes chilled local beer or New Zealand wine with a fresh fruit platter.

Whangamata: Whenuakura Island Guided Experiece

2. Whangamata: Whenuakura Island Guided Experiece

Embark on a short kayaking tour to Whenuakura Island, an area which is beginning to assume iconic status alongside other regional attractions in the Coromandel. The stunning Whenuakura Island, is one of a group of islands off the coast of Whangamata which have wildlife sanctuary status. As Guardians of the islands, this tour encourages you to treat the islands with respect to preserve their future. Because of the island’s geography, access is limited due to swell and wind conditions, and only kayaks or paddleboards can squeeze through the narrow entrance. The island is a wildlife sanctuary and opens up into a beautiful lagoon which is rather out of this world. Join the experienced team on an adventure that takes you 600m off the coast of Whangamata Beach, to a secluded turquoise lagoon surrounded by native fauna and volcanic cliff rock.

Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

3. Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

Enjoy a summer evening cruising on Lake Taupo. Chris Jolly has been entertaining guests for 40 years, and his tour to the Maori Rock Carvings is known worldwide. Recently restored, these rock carvings were created in the 1980s and still tower above the water, truly a sight to behold.  With family friendly activities on board and split level comfort, this tour is a must for those visiting the region. Enjoy the full bar as you cruise around the Lake Taupo bays, learning onboard from the live commentary. With views of Tongariro National Park and spectacular scenery, this is one evening to be enjoyed by all.

From Auckland: Small Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour

4. From Auckland: Small Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour

First, enjoy the 90-minute drive to the charming town of Thames, where you will take a short break. Then, hit the road again and take in the spectacular views along New Zealand’s west coast. You will then stop in at the Coromandel Township where the renowned potter, Barry Brickell, had his studio. Ride on his personally designed mountain railway system, on a memorable journey through the rugged landscape. Next, stop for a quiet stroll in pristine rainforest and see some magnificent kauri trees, which once covered the Coromandel Peninsula. The journey continues across the mountain divide and descends towards the east coast beaches where you will stop for lunch. Visit the amazing Hot Water Beach, where hot water bubbles to the surface of the sand. Dig your own hot tub right next to the lapping waves.   Then, visit Cathedral Cove, where the water washes through a natural arch onto a white sandy beach backed by white cliffs. Next, take the 30-minute downhill walk to the beautiful beach, which was featured in the Chronicles of Narnia.   End the day enjoy the landscape during the return journey to Auckland, as you head over the hills along a different route.

Lake Karapiro: Evening Kayak Glowworm Tour

5. Lake Karapiro: Evening Kayak Glowworm Tour

Your guided tour commences in the late afternoon or early evening. As you paddle along the southern end of Lake Karapiro, crossing over the old submerged Horahora Village and power station that produced electricity for the early Waihi goldfields. Learn about local Maori and early European history of the area while enjoying the twilight and silence of being on the water as the day draws to an end. The magic begins as you paddle slowly up the Pokaiwhenua stream and through a spectacular canyon carved out by water over many hundreds of years. Native ferns and trees and bird life surround you and you may even hear brown trout breaking the water's surface. When darkness falls you will drift silently back downstream, surrounded by glow worms on either side sparkling like tiny Christmas lights.

From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

6. From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

Get a fantastic geothermal experience without the thronging crowds with this day trip to Orakei Korako from Rotorua. Discover a geothermal park boasting the most active geysers in New Zealand. After exploring Orakei Korako, visit Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Depart Rotorua after pickup from your hotel between 9 AM-9:15 AM and travel to Orakei Korako. Somewhat off the beaten track, Orakei Korako, also known as the Hidden Valley, is nestled in the Taupo Volcanic Zone between Taupo and Rotorua. After a 45-minute drive to get there, take a short boat ride across the lake then enjoy 2 hours to explore the thermal area featuring up to 23 natural geysers in a constantly changing landscape. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colors all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. Next, move on to Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Lunch is at your own expense but there are multiple places for you to choose to eat. In Taupo, be guided by your driver and visit the lake front and other interesting sights. Your driver will find out what interests you and, if possible, tailor the day to maximize the stops to suit your interests. Return to Rotorua after Taupo for drop-off at your accommodation between 3:30 PM-4:30 PM.

Waikato River: 1-Hour Ecological River Cruise

7. Waikato River: 1-Hour Ecological River Cruise

Experience an ecological river cruise on a speedboat that is tailored to the wishes of the customers on board, this includes the speed, and the number of slides and spins if any. The experienced driver will give you a detailed history of the area and Karapiro Dam and power station. Admire the native birds and wildlife which make the area home. Your guide has a diploma in environmental management and an in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Encounter numerous fish species and birds species such as Fantail, Kingfisher, Tui, Harrier Hawk, NZ Falcon, Heron, Shag, Mallard Duck and more. See large waterfalls from the towering cliffs above. Experience some of the narrowest sections of the Waikato River with the forest canopy above. Visit the base of the Karapiro Hydro Power station with full commentary provided. Then, cruise back to beautiful Cambridge.

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

8. Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Explore the stunningly beautiful and popular area of Tongariro which is made up of 3 volcanic peaks. In this audio tour, learn about the volcanic activity and the craters that are found in the area like the Red, Central and North Crater. This 7-hour hike will tell you about Māori myths and legends as you walk along this legendary area that was also made famous by the filming of The Lord of the Rings. You will also see the Lower Mangatepopo Valley, Mount Ruapehu, Soda Springs, Upper Mangatepopo Valley, Ngauruhoe Summit, the Oturere Valley Lookout, the Emerald Lakes, Blue Lake, Lake Rotoaira with North Views, Ketetahi Springs, and the Totara Forest. Your tour. Your way.

Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

9. Taupo Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Enjoy this action-packed city of Taupo, where water-based and adrenaline activities keep many tourists busy. Located on Lake Tauponuiatia or Lake Taupo for short, this area is rich with geothermal and volcanic activity where natural hot springs and baths surround the area. In this audio tour you will learn about the Waikato River which runs from the Lake and its fishing history at the Taupo Boat Harbour. You will also see where the Skydiving takes place, as well as learn about the Māori Carvings and Stories, the Lake itself, the Tongariro National Park, the Harbour Master Building and Boats, Tapuaeharuru Redoubt and Magazine, the Courthouse Buildings, the Story Place, the Taupo Museum with the Garden of Wellbeing, the Joan Williamson Rose Garden, Great Lake Centre, the Settler's Cemetery and the Taupo Primary School. A fun tour full of interesting information. 

Coromandel Peninsula: Full Day Canyoning Adventure

10. Coromandel Peninsula: Full Day Canyoning Adventure

Your canyoning adventure departs from the Thames Visitor Information CENTR in the morning. Upon arrival at the Coromandel Peninsula valley floor, meet your guides for the day and listen to a brief talk about the history of the area as well as fascinating insight about the region’s pre-european logging industry. After your introduction session, begin your ascent to the top of the river and into the canyon. At the summit, take a moment to catch your breath and admire the sprawling views across the surrounding landscape. Next, get kitted out with all the necessary equipment and watch your guide share some important safety information as well as a short abseiling session and tradition Karakia prayer. Then it’s time for the real fun to begin as you drop over the first 30-meter waterfall and glide across the canyon wall. Feel the thrill of adrenaline as you slide down 10 waterfalls, swim through natural pools, climb down the valley wall, and marvel at stunning views throughout the day. The tour also comes with lunch and snacks included, as well as photos of the day to remind you of this truly unique experience.

Frequently asked questions about Waikato Outdoor Activities

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What people are saying about Waikato

This was a wonderful excursion! The sites were absolutely breathtaking and there were plenty of photo stops and potty breaks to break up the trip. TONY is the best!! Such a wonderful tour guide and personable human being altogether. The tour guides we had with our Bush & Beach excursions were easily the best and one of the most memorable parts of our trip - definitely recommend booking with them for anything you can :)

Great hosts!! Everything was well explained! Loved the tour, views and especially the bar Will definitely do it again with family for a celebration. Thank you for helping make memories and capturing an experience and enlightening the history of the beautiful lake!!

Great activity. Me and my group of girls really enjoyed ourselves. So cool to see all the fish out in the marine and just chill out on the bean bags sipping on some wine. Also had fruit platter which was delicious!

The tour guide was amazing very helpful and knowledgeable :)

Great tour! The driver was very nice and I had a great day