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Rotorua is a popular destination for both domestic and international visitors better known for its famous geothermal activity, unique Maori culture and extreme outdoor adventure activities. But many do not realise that Rotorua is also described as the Lakes District of New Zealand.
The Rotorua region is filled with 16 lakes of varying sizes, and three major rivers.The lakes are the gems of the region and a delight in the summer months.
Activities are plentiful, as is the fishing! The majority of the lakes boast trout of three varieties and the lakes are abundant in trophy trout. With great spots for swimming, water sports, picnics, picturesque waterways and sandy beaches, the lakes are perfect for relaxing and enjoying time with the whole family.
Here is a list of 14 of the lakes and the reasons to visit while you’re in Rotorua.
Lake Rotorua is the largest lake in the district with the city of Rotorua on its shores and is the most productive trout fishery in New Zealand. Sitting in the centre of Lake Rotorua is Mokoia Island. Today Mokoia Island is a sanctuary for endangered birds and wildlife and is also closely associated with one of the best-known Māori legends, that of Hinemoa and Tutanekai.
Lake Tarawera meaning 'Burnt Spear' is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand overlooked by Mt Tarawera, famous for the 1886 eruption which destroyed the Pink and White Terraces. Lake Tarawera is a picturesque lake, famous for its hot water beaches and the size and condition of its Rainbow Trout. Splash down on Lake Tarawera in a WWII amphibious vehicle with Rotorua Duck Tours.
Lake Rotoiti is connected to Lake Rotorua by the Ohau Channel. The lakes waters leave via the Kaituna River which is home to the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. Lake Rotoiti is a popular spot for boaties and has the accessible-by-boat only Manupirua Hot Springs on its shores.
Lake Tikitapu (The Blue Lake)
Lake Tikitapu is a small, circular lake framed by pretty native bush and forestry. Famous for its striking colour, it is commonly known as the Blue Lake and is adjacent to the slate green coloured "Green Lake"/Lake Rotokakahi. With a water slide and an easy walking track around the lake, it is a popular location for family outings. Splash down on Lake Tikitapu with in a WWII amphibious vehicle with Rotorua Duck Tours.
Lake Rotokakahi (The Green Lake)
The Green Lake is privately owned by local Iwi and considered tapu or sacred, with no swimming or boating permitted on the lake. This is because of the burial ground of many Maori ancestors located on a small island in the middle of the lake.
Lake Okareka has cool, clear water and is used extensively for recreation such as boating, swimming and fishing. Splash down on Lake Okareka in a WWII amphibious vehicle with Rotorua Duck Tours.
Means "lake of exceptionally clear water". The lake currently has the best water quality of all the Rotorua lakes. Four buoys near the centre of the lake mark a submerged Maori pa (village) site.
Lake Rotomahana was the site of the geothermal "Pink and White Terraces", once considered the eighth wonder of the natural world. The terraces were destroyed in the 1886 Tarawera eruption. Cruise Lake Rotomahana
Lake Atiamuri was formed in 1958 when the Waikato River was dammed for hydroelectric power generation.
Also formed due to the damming of the Waikato River the lake was formed in 1961. It is the largest artificial lake of the Waikato river system and known for its calm waters and is a popular spot with wakeboarders and water skiers.
The smallest of the Rotorua lakes and a popular water-skiing spot it is appreciated for its quiet rural setting.
The name Okataina means "The lake of laughter" and surrounding scenic reserve is remote and beautiful, with native bush down to the water's edge containing fine examples of rimu, totara, rata and kahikatea.
Means the lake of "wandering spirits." The land surrounding this lake was the last of the developed farming areas of the Rotorua District.
Lake Rotoehu was heavily populated with many pa sites located around its shores. The lake is very shallow and hides an island underneath its waters.
The beauty of these lakes must be seen to be believed. Visit the stunning lakes district, and learn more of the history of the Rotorua region with Rotorua Duck Tours. To find out more please visit their website- rotoruaducktours.co.nz.
Jump on board a guided sightseeing tour of Rotorua and the lakes in our Amphibious Landing Crafts. Splashdown onto pristine lakes surrounded by beautiful native forests. The perfect introduction to Rotorua’s geothermal and Maori history!