Lake Rotokakahi

With stunning views and a serene atmosphere, it is easy to understand why this lake is regarded as sacred by the local Maori.

Enjoy tranquil strolls along the banks of Lake Rotokakahi and discover beautiful, hidden coves. Marvel at the luminous green water and lush forest and admire the pretty Motutawa Island at the lake’s center.

Covering an area of around 440 hectares (1,090 acres), Lake Rotokakahi is one of four smaller lakes set between the larger Rotorua and Tarawera lakes. Its name comes from kakahi, a type of edible freshwater shellfish that the local Maori once collected from the lake’s sandy bed.

Stand on the banks of the lake and note the vibrant green colour of the water. This is a stark contrast to neighbouring Lake Tikitapu where the water is a deep blue.

Set off for a hike through the lush tree-covered hills as they rise up all around the lake. As the trail twists and turns, try to spot native flora and bird species.

Walk north from the lake and see the blue water of Lake Tikitapu from the hillside between the two lakes; as long as the shrubs aren’t too overgrown, both lakes can be seen from this point.

At the southeast end of Lake Rotokakahi lies the secluded Kaiteriria Bay. Sit on the grass in the warming sun and look out toward the water where the shape of Motutawa Island can be seen offshore. In the past, this island was used as a burial ground by prominent tribes in the area.

Lake Rotokakahi is a 20-minute drive southeast of Roturua. Find a small parking lot at the north end of the lake, which also serves Lake Tikitapu. The spiritual significance of Lake Rotokakahi to Maori culture means that swimming, boating and fishing are strictly prohibited here. Bring a swimsuit and towel and swim in nearby Lake Tikitapu instead.