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Art & culture

Taupo has a vibrant arts culture bred by its relaxed pace of life, which draws many creatives and artisans to the region. From traditional Maori carving and weaving to contemporary painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass-blowing, wood-carving and street art, there’s a wealth of beautiful work to see (and even take home).

Taupo town centre has several art galleries and a small museum that host changing exhibitions. The popular annual Taupo Art Trail on Queen’s Birthday weekend goes inside local artists’ own studios to show their process up close.

In spring, the Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival is a high-energy celebration, bringing local and international artists to add to Taupo’s surprising and diverse collection of public murals.

The Lava Glass Sculpture Garden is a must visit for art fans. Featuring more than 600 handcrafted glass sculptures and is the only garden of this kind in New Zealand.

Like many resort towns, Taupo hosts boutique film festivals, local and travelling theatre shows and outdoor music events, including the annual Taupo Summer Concert, featuring international artists.

Discover the region's Maori culture heritage at the Taupo Museum, and visit some of New Zealand’s most significant Maori pa sites (fortified villages) where you can learn about the history of the famous Ka Mate Haka at Opotaka Historic Reserve or discover the site where the last major engagement of the New Zealand Wars was fought in 1869 at Te Porere Redoubt.

Art and culture activities and tours in Taupo

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  • Boat cruises

    Cruise Kakariki to the Maori Rock Carvings

    This all-year-round activity offers relaxation, fun and adventure on the water. Get right up close to this culturally significant 46 foot (14m) high rock art. Enjoy amusing and current commentary on Lake Taupo, the volcanoes and the carvings.

    $40 - $45 Book now
  • Art galleries

    Tukairangi Gallery / Ross Palmer Pottery

    Discover our range of beautiful handmade wheelthrown and dramatic freeform ware, all in signature rich colourful glazes.

  • Maori culture

    Opotaka Historic Reserve - Lake Rotoaira

    Opotaka is a historical Maori pa site (fortified village) where you can learn about the history of the famous Ka Mate Haka, see the remains of the Maori settlement, and enjoy spectacular views across Lake Rotoaira to Mt Tongariro.

  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings with Canoe & Kayak

    Let Canoe & Kayak take you on a kayak adventure across stunning Lake Taupo while taking in all the beautiful views of the surrounding coastline and neighbouring mountains before getting up close and personal to the iconic Maori Rock Carvings.

    $115 Book now
  • Boat cruises

    Sail Barbary - eco sailing Lake Taupo

    Explore Lake Taupō on an eco-friendly scenic cruise with Sail Barbary. Enjoy stunning views as you set sail to explore the Māori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay. Book and enjoy a must-do experience on New Zealand's only commercial electric sail boat.

    $49 - $59 Book now
  • Art galleries

    Red Rock Gallery

    We make art readily available to people by allowing them to get close to artworks, helping them to see the colours and forms that can not always be appreciated in a photo or online.

  • Art galleries

    New Zealand Maori Creations

    Carvings, as preserved by Maori. Delani is a master carver, with pieces on display in a number of places.

  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Ernest Kemp Scenic Cruise Lake Taupo

    Daily scenic cruises to the Maori Rock Carvings onboard the Ernest Kemp, a replica steamboat. Ernest Kemp cruises daily all year round - four times during summer and twice in winter. Enjoy stunning Lake Taupo and the carvings on this 2 hour cruise.

    $35 - $45 Book now
  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Backyard Tours

    Nau mai Hāere mai - Greetings and Welcome. Backyard Tours transport services customers to and from having fun in the snow at Ruapehu Whakapapa Ski fields and hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Ask us if booking groups or other need of transport.

    $30 - $50 Book now
  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Maori Rock Carvings with Taupo Kayaking Adventures

    We will take you on a 1/2 day adventure kayaking to the impressive 14m high Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay, Lake Taupo. Only close-up viewing is accessible by water, a visit to the carvings is the must do activity in Taupo.

    $115 Book now

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Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival

New Zealand’s longest running annual street art festival. 

Art & culture

Art & culture events 

Music

Music events 

Markets

The Taupo Market 

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