The largest of our region’s lakes, Rotorua is a volcanic caldera, formed from the crater of a large volcano.
Rotorua city on the southern shore, was named after the lake, shortened from its full name, Te Rotorua nui ā Kahumatamomoe. This name was given by the explorer Ihenga a grandson of the captain of the Arawa canoe Tamatekapua.
Lake Rotorua is shallow, and less popular for swimming and watersports than the region’s other lakes. But as the most productive trout fishery in New Zealand, with both Rainbow and Brown Trout in large numbers it is extremely popular for fishing
The Rotorua Lakefront
(currently under redevelopment) is a central hub for visitors to the city, and home to a number of lake activities. The future vision is to create a vibrant focial point and recreational feature that acknowledges the cultural, social and environmental contest of the area.
On the shore of the lake, Ōhinemutu
was a Maori settlement before the city was established, chosen for the abundant geothermal energy for cooking, bathing & heating. While you can wander around the village, to fully appreciate the stories of this special place, you can get a guided tour from Kia Ora Guided Walks
Sulphur Bay Wildlife Refuge
on the south-eastern shore of Lake Rotorua is a Wildlife Refuge, home to an array of bird species thriving in the active geothermal environment. The water appears murky due to sulphur suspensions in the water. You can walk or ride through Sulphur Bay, it’s part of Te Ara Ahi
Mokoia Island, a rhyolite dome, sits at the centre of the lake. Best known for the famous love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai
, the island has strong cultural and historical significance, and is now a wildlife sanctuary for native birds and regenerating native plant life.