Lake Rotoiti is the boutique cousin to the larger Lake Rotorua. Though Rotoiti is connected to its massive neighbor by the narrow Ohau Channel, it has its own relaxed feel. Sunsets on Lake Rotoiti are beautiful, and the trout fishing here is some of the best on the North Island.
Visitors can join a kayak tour to reach hidden beaches where hot springs bubble beneath the sands, or raft down one of the waterfalls that spill into the surrounding rivers. For a serene view of the water, hike to Okere Falls and take a short stroll to see kayakers navigating the white water. Another option is to finish a day of sightseeing with a sunset kayak tour that takes in the hot springs and glowworm caves.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Glowworm caves and thermal hot springs are only accessible by boat.
- Paddling instruction, equipment, and round-trip hotel transport from Rotorua are provided on most guided kayak tours.
- Excursions last anywhere from a few hours to a full day, and may include snacks or barbecue meals.
- Bring a bathing suit, towel, water shoes or hiking shoes, and a change of clothing.
How to Get There
Lake Rotoiti is located on the North Island, east of Rotorua and a 30-minute drive downtown. Most tours and day trips offer convenient hotel pickup and drop-off, but there is parking available for those who opt to self-drive. Please note, this lake is not to be confused with another Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island.
When to Get There
Bask in the relaxing environs of one of Rotorua’s most popular lakes during the day or evening hours. Glowworms can be seen any time in the darkness of the caverns, but an evening paddle or a soak in the hot springs is ideal for taking in the soft light of sunset on the water.
Maori Lore Around the Lake
Hiking trails in the area around Lake Rotoiti are packed with historical significance. For example, the 90-minute Hinehopu/Hongi Track, which leads toward Lake Rotoehu, has existed since 1620. It’s believed that Hinehopu—a Maori chieftainess—had a homes on the shores of Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoehu, and the forested walking path connecting the lakes was created to link the two.