Local Rules

Boat Speeds and Wake

The speed limit is five knots within 200 metres of the shore or structures (such as wharves), and five knots within 50 metres of any other vessel, but special restrictions apply at:

  • the Waikato River from the Harbourmaster's office - three knots maximum
  • the Kinloch marina entrance, two knots maximum.

Red-and-white striped buoys have been introduced to show 200 metres from shore.

Every person who propels or navigates a vessel must ensure that its wake does not cause unnecessary danger or risk of damage to other vessels, persons or structures.


200m Buoys

Red and white striped buoys are placed in a number of locations to show skippers 200 metres from shore.

Note 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore rule applies to all of the Lake Taupō shoreline including rivers unless otherwise stated (ski lanes etc).


Ski Areas

Access lanes enable vessels involved in towing to legally leave or approach the shore at speeds in excess of 5 knots.

Direction of travel is anti-clockwise. All access lane buoys are coloured orange and black.

Location of access lanes                                

  • Five Mile Bay x 2 
  • Hallets Bay
  • Motutere Bay
  • Mission Bay
  • Stump Bay 
  • Waihi Bay
  • Kuratau
  • Whareroa
  • Waihora Bay
  • Kawakawa Bay 
  • Kinloch (Whangamata Bay)
  • Kaiapo Bay


Personal Water Craft / Jet Skis

Personal floatation devices must be worn when operating jet skis.

Observer rule applies to all water craft when towing.

All personal water craft (PWC) / jet skis used in the waters of the Lake must be registered with a regional council that registers PWC (e.g. Waikato).

This is a requirement under the Lake Taupo Navigation Safety Bylaw 2020.

You can register your PWC / jet ski at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/pwc and follow the instructions.


Swim Only Areas

Lake Taupō has seven designated areas for swimming only.

These are marked with white and black banded posts ashore, and black and white buoys in the water.

No vessels may enter these areas at all:

  • Yacht Club Taupō
  • Main Beach Taupō
  • Between 3 & 4 Mile Bays
  • Kinloch
  • Pukawa 
  • Kuratau
  • Whareroa 



No rubbish may be put in the Lake. You cannot pollute the lake waters with any fluid or solid matter detrimental to heath. This includes bottles, tins or cartons.

It is an offence under the Resource Management Act 1991 to discharge contaminants such as treated or untreated sewage into Lake Taupō unless the discharge is specifically authorised by a resource consent.

Toilet pump out facilities are available for craft with sewage holding tanks or portable toilets at the Taupō Landing Reserve main wharf, Tokaanu wharf, Motuoapa and Kinloch marinas.

You can find more useful information about marine environmental protection on the Maritime New Zealand website.