The Travel Diaries – Rotorua’s smaller lakes

Part 2 of 2 shows us some recreational hot spots

A perfect spot for a swim

There are a couple of lakes missing from this list that one day I will hopefully try and visit so I can update this to be a bit more complete, but as they say, good things take time! So with that said, lets get straight into it. The first 3 lakes are all very close together and can be accessed by Tarawera Road. The last lake is found on State Highway 30 on the way to Kawerau and Whakatane. You can view part one here.

Lake Okareka

Boyes Beach Reserve

With a small township aka mostly holiday homes, resting on the edges of this lake, it has shown to be a very popular spot with tourists and locals alike during the summer to escape that summer heat and indulge in some aquatic fun. Being such a short drive from the main city of Rotorua, it makes it an ideal summer spot to get away even if it is just for a brief moment. Expect it to be very busy during holiday periods.

This is how the lake beaches really look like, be careful of that sudden drop!

Safety Note: While lakes are generally calm bodies of water with seemingly little dangers, some NZ lakes can be a little deceiving. As you can see in the picture, most of these lakes have a shelf, meaning you can walk into the water and it will be shallow to start with but then all of a sudden the bottom disappears. This has caught more than a few people off guard not only for those who can’t swim but also since our first reaction when we are stressed or surprised is often to breathe in first, which in the water, usually means taking in a big gulp of the water you just plunged into. Moral of the story, be weary of the shelf and layout of the lake ‘beach’ you are swimming in.

Lake Tikitapu aka The Blue Lake

From this angle, the blue lake looks kinda green… fail

A very popular lake for picnics and water sports, lake Tikitapu is a great spot to go and enjoy a hot summers day. With a big reserve nearby, a camping ground and a walking track the circumvents the entire lake, Tikitapu has a bit of everything. The lake also hosts multiple events during the year and gets its name as the blue lake thanks to the pumice and rhyolite found on the lake floor that gives it its blue colour.

From above it looks a lot more blue

Lake Rotokakahi aka The Green Lake

Being untouched allows for some great views

While this lake is a private Iwi owned lake and closed off access to the public, it is still worth mentioning given its close proximity to the other lakes and is one of the few lakes in the region to remain mostly undisturbed and in pristine condition. You can get a few views of the lake from a couple of vantage points in the area, or of course if you have a drone you can get some great shots of this untouched gem of a lake.

Lake Rotoma

Clear and calm on a cloudy day makes the lake look stunning

This lake is a bit further away from the main city but it is worth a visit with its excellent water quality making the lake very clear to see to the bottom. With a small township on the eastern shore and plenty of stop off points along the southern road, Rotoma is a great spot to get some really great pictures. There is also a short bridle trail in the area which is worth taking a walk down for its stunning native forest views.

Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. He has now returned back to NZ and works for Digital Natives Academy as the lead education program designer. Aside from writing his own blog, he is also a popular Club DJ, Gamer, Community manager, esports fan and anime enthusiast.

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