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Lake Tarawera, Rotorua Overview

Known as ‘Burnt Spear’, Lake Tarawera is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand. Before the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera in the late 19th century, it was home to several Maori settlements and villages. The place spreads over some 39 square kilometres, has no entry fees and is scenic too. The lake is a product of the volcanic activity of the Tarawera Volcanic Zone and has a high sulphur content, giving it an exotic yellowish green hue.

The lake also has natural hot springs due to its geothermal activity in some southern and northern shores regions, which an experienced local guide will guide you. It is intense, and the water stays there for over a decade. The place also has the iconic natural wonder, Pink and White Terraces. It has walking tracks chalked out to trail you through the geothermal spaces without getting dangerously close to the volcanic boundaries.

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Things to Do

  • Watersports- The very word lakes/streams open up an eclectic range of water sports for us to play clad in our swimsuits, them being volleyball, swimming race, rugby, racquetball, etc.

  • Stroll-boating- For the non surfers, the gentle waves make it a point to not leave you out on the fun. Stroll boating is big time yes for any tourist. The Lake despite having no entry fees such has commercial operations like boating in some spots. 

  • Walking and Tramping- The sandy plains and the road leading to and beyond the lake, mainly toward the two cities it is surrounded with on its western and southern shore are very ideal to stroll around and keep yourself active. . It has walking tracks chalked out to trail you through the geothermal spaces without getting dangerously close to the volcanic boundaries.

  • Fishing- Rotorua lakes are considered to be really ideal by fishermen all across the world. Apart from the Lake Tarawera, there are thirteen other secondary lakes fit for fishing. They are known for there high quality fish, clear water and gentle waves. The catch rates spike up around for the species of Rainbow and Brown Trout. 

  • Picnicking- Lakes have always been an ideal spot to picnic and nibble on some light snacks with your family and friends. The shores of the Tarawera lake serves the same. With its gentle breeze blowing almost all year round, mellow sun during the months of autumn and spring and nearby local food joints, the place is ideal if you have  picnic as a to-do on your trip to New Zealand.

  • Hot Pools- Due to the geothermal activity of Lake Tarawera, it has been a go to spot of hot pools for visitors since the 19th century. Tarwera now boasts of several curated hot pools or springs in its lakes, private or naturally existing on the northern and southern shores. Soaking in them is proven to be therapeutically relaxing and also bears several medical benefits.

  • Tarawera Falls Walk- The walk is an easy moderate walk of 3.5 hours where you will be given an entire tour of the lake area starting from the Hot Water Beach to the geothermal spots. There are tour guides, local and experienced who will let you in about the Maori culture, their hardships during the nineteenth century volcanic eruption. You are advised to bring good walking shoes, sunscreen lotion, a hat, drinking water, food and camera.

  • Ancestral Footprints Cultural Tour- You will be joining a lady with a strong lineage of the Tuhourangi blood. She will let you in about the Maori culture, their fads and fetishes. You may dip your feet in the lake, sit back and relax listening to anecdotes of the Tuhourangi people and their culture.
  • Helicopter Tours- Take a helicopter tour over the Mount Tarawera region, seep in the breathtaking panoramic view of the mountain, the fresh blue water of its lakes. You can traverse through the Te Rata Bay and dip yourself in Lake Tarawera’s very own hot water beach or thermal pool. 

Best Time to Visit

The lakes are open perennially but like any tourist spot, places like beaches and lakes are best visited during its moderate months, preferably the time of autumn or spring. Autumn falls in the month of March to May and spring in the months of September to December.

The temperature is at an average of 23-25 degrees Celsius. You are advised to carry umbrellas since rains here get unpredictable. If you plan to visit the lake in bright daylight, you may want to take sunscreen lotions since it gets quite warm during the daytime.

How To Reach Lake Tarawera

  • Tourists can avail a number of boat charters provided by some commercial operators to reach the Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve.
  • One may get into Tarawera Outlet from Kawerau township through private forest lands that may require prior permission from the authorities, contact your local tour guide about the same beforehand.
  • This forest route might be closed during the months of summer when there is a risk of forest fire. 

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