Lake Rotoaira and Lake Otamangakau

Peaceful and pretty, these two lakes are a wonderful place to pause and reflect, with more active options on offer for those wishing to go deeper.

Peaceful and pretty, these two lakes are a wonderful place to pause and reflect, with more active options on offer for those wishing to go deeper.

A small lake situated between Lake Taupō and Mt Tongariro, Lake Rotoaira was highly prized by the Māori people as an eel fishery. Legend tells that Mt Taranaki was originally sited where Lake Rotoaira is today, but when Taranaki fell in love with the mountain Pihanga, Pihanga’s husband Mt Tongariro drove Taranaki away to the west.

Rotoaira is best appreciated from State Highway 47, the road heading south from Turangi towards Tongariro National Park. A clearly marked lookout and rest area offers spectacular views across the lake to the volcanic plateau.

Lake Rotoaira feeds the ambitious Tokaanu hydropower station, completed in 1973. So does its neighbouring lake, Otamangakau. It’s worth driving down to this little lake to admire Otamangakau’s tranquil waters and mountain panoramas, but those with a sense of adventure should consider stand up paddle boarding. Reputedly the highest-altitude SUP trip in the Southern Hemisphere, this is a very special experience that offers a unique perspective on Tongariro National Park.

Both lakes are renowned trout fisheries, but only with a permit. Licences for fishing all local lakes and rivers are available from the Turangi information centre.

 

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