Ernest Kemp 1.5hr Maori Carvings Cruise

From $15

Step aboard the Ernest Kemp, a replica 1920’s steam boat – one of the most unique ways to see Lake Taupo and the Maori Rock Carvings.



Fast Facts

  • 1 departure per day – 12.30pm
  • 1.5 hour trip
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and cookies
  • Indoor and outdoor seating
  • Children can visit the Skipper and receive a Wheel Certificate
  • If you fancy a swim – join the 2hr cruise for this extra.
  • Free postcard
  • Children are 5-15 years. Under 5’s are free!

All the charm of the 2 hour cruise, but quicker.

Step aboard the Ernest Kemp and depart Taupo Marina to start your journey to the rock carvings.  Towering 14 metres above the waters of Lake Taupo, the Maori Rock Carvings have become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Taupo. Now it’s your turn to see them!

Taking four years to sculpt, the spectacular carving was completed in 1980. Since then, they have been visited by hundreds of thousands of people since. Learn about the lead carver, Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell.  He led a team of four artists, who, wearing nothing but safety goggles and speedos, carved out the rock alcove at Mine Bay to create the carvings.

Cruise Lake Taupo on a replica 1920’s steam boat.

Unique to New Zealand, the Ernest Kemp is a replica steam boat 14.5 meters long (47ft). She weighs just over 20 tonnes, and has a draught of one metre (3ft), which means it will operate in shallow waters safely. It is powered by two four-cylinder ford diesel engines (73Hp), producing an average speed of approximately 9 knots.

Check out the steering wheel – it was one of two winding reels mounted on both sides of a horse-drawn hose-reel used by fire brigades years ago in New Zealand.

Listen out for Ernest Kemp’s steam whistle. It was originally from a New Zealand bush steam locomotive engine that operated hauling logs years ago.


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