It’s tough to decide which is more beautiful: the cobalt hue of the aptly-named “Blue Lake” as it sparkles in the midday sun, or the deep green of the Whakarewarewa Forest that hugs the shore of the lake. Either way, the natural beauty is what makes this lake a Rotorua favorite, and it’s the best place in town for swimming, water skiing, and reconnecting with nature. Thanks to a pumice and rhyolite bottom that’s reflected by the sun, the blue color of this small lake is just too inviting for a swim. Despite its small size and shallow depth the water is still relatively cool, and the north end beach is the place to be on the hottest days of summer. If you’d prefer to work up a sweat instead before cooling off with a swim, a 3.5-mile walking trail encircles the entire lake. Walk beneath the shaded groves of the Whakarewarewa forest, and leave footprints in the lakeshore sand before jumping in for a swim. From parts of the trail, you can get clear views of the neighboring “Green Lake” and its protected, sacred waters, and of all the lakes in Rotorua, Lake Tikitapu is the closest to town and a favorite of travelers with children.
Lake Tikitapu is 5.5 miles southeast of Rotorua. There are public toilets, BBQ facilities, picnic areas, and a playground, as well as a boat ramp on the north of lake that can be very busy on weekends.