The Lakefront Reserve features BBQs, picnic tables and other areas perfect for family oriented activities. The reserve is also used for public events such as craft markets, pony rides and concerts. The reserve has three distinct divisions: the Village Green (bounded by Whakaue Street, Tutanekai Street and Memorial Drive), the Soundshell (bounded by Lake Road and Lake Rotorua) and the War Memorial Park which was opened in 1958.

The reserve covers almost eight hectares and, like Government Gardens, is one of the reserves gifted by the Ngati Whakaue tribe. The area presently occupied by the Soundshell was originally intended to harbour a canoe landing site and horse grazing for Ngati Whakaue who lived at Kawaha Point, Mokoia Island, Owhata, Ohinemutu and Maketu.

The Volcanic Playground on Lakefront Drive was completed in 1995 following a large push from community fundraisers. Rotorua’s first recorded playground equipment was a merry-go-round gifted “to the children of Rotorua” by local bakers Mr. and Mrs. Graeff in 1929.

A wharf has been part of the reserve for its full history. The first fuel pump was installed on the wharf in 1966 and floatplane operations commenced in 1968.