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When visiting Taupo the large freshwater lake is a natural drawcard for swimming, fishing and all sorts of water sports.
Leaving from Taupo Boat Harbour, the 1980 built replica steamboat ‘Ernest Kemp’ is an excellent way to get offshore and explore the surrounding lake area of Lake Taupo, with the highlight of the cruise of getting up close to the Maori carvings at Mine Bay.
The little green boat was once a ferry in the Bay of Islands and was named after the great grandson of one of the first settlers on the North Island. With the option of sitting inside or outside and complimentary tea , coffee and biscuits that you can help yourself to on the two hour cruise. There is also a reasonably priced bar on board along with snacks.
The skipper gives an informative and humorous commentary , pointing out landmarks and the history of the area. On a clear day you will have an outstanding view of the volcanos in Tongariro National Park: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.
The impressive Maori carvings took four years to complete. The main cliff carving has been done in the likeness of Maori navigator “Ngatoroirangi” is 10 metres high. The work was begun in 1978 by the Maori carver Matahi who donated the carvings as a gift to the local area.
Ernest Kemp will get you closest to the carvings due to its manoeuvrability compared to other cruise operators. You will also sail between two massive boulders nearby which look like tiny islands. They were thrown out during the massive Oruanui eruption in the area 26,500 years ago.
Overall, Ernest Kemp is an enjoyable way to get on the lake and suitable for everyone. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
Ernest Kemp from Taupo Boat Harbor booking office or tourist information centres.
Cruise times: 10:30am, 2:00pm everyday and 5:00pm (summer only)