The largest lake in the district, on which the city of Rotorua stands. Take a boardwalk to Sulphur Point and view magnificent examples of steaming vents and boiling mud pools or take in the views from the lakefront. The name "Rotorua" comes from the Māori language; "roto" means lake and "rua" means two – Rotorua thus meaning "second lake". Visit Mokoia Island with Katoa Lake Rotorua.
Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)
A small, circular lake framed by pretty native bush and forestry. Famous for its striking colour, it is affectionately known by locals as the Blue Lake. One of the most popular lakes for swimming and kayaking with its beaches, it also has surrounding grassed areas popular for summer picnics. Facilities include toilets and an excellent children's playground. A 5.5-kilometre track allows you to walk the full circumference, mainly at elevation. Visit with Rotorua Duck Tours.
Surrounded by a ring of hills and dominated by Mt Tarawera, it is one of the deeper and larger lakes of the region. The Tarawera Trail which runs down the southern side of the lake is regarded as one of the finest walks in the country and provides breath-taking views, with quiet picnic spots along the way. Hot Water Beach is accessible both by trail or boat and allows people to bath in the warm waters of Te Rata Bay fed by a naturally heated hot water stream. Visit with Totally Tarawera.
The most recently formed of all natural lakes in New Zealand and the deepest in the Rotorua district, Rotomahana was shaped by the 1886 Tarawera eruption. The Pink and White Terraces, which were considered the eighth wonder of the natural world and were New Zealand's most famous tourist attraction during the mid-19th century, now lie buried below the lake. Visit with Waimangu Volcanic Valley.
A small lake full of charm, Lake Okareka (pictured above) is surrounded by hills. Another beautiful picnic spot with Boyes Beach at one end with shallow water for paddling and a children’s playground and on the south shore picnic tables to enjoy the view. The boardwalk that meanders through wetlands rich in aquatic life, is probably the highlight and makes a great short family walk. Visit with Horse Trekking Lake Okareka.