Lake Rotorua - Feel the Spirit Beautiful Lake Rotorua is steeped in myths and history, it's a relatively shallow lake that was formed approximately 140,000 years ago. Hot springs provide direct geothermal inputs along the southern shore. The lake covers an area of 7878 ha in total, and the mean depth is 11m. Lake Rotorua is the North Island’s second largest lake after Lake Taupo.
The picturesque city of Rotorua, voted New Zealand's most beautiful city in 1999, 2000 and 2002, is built on the lake's southern shores. The small town of Ngongotaha is situated at the western edge of the lake. Rotorua, with all its geothermal activity and action attractions, is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations.
A visit to Rotorua offers a unique insight into Maori traditions, past ways of life and the renaissance of the Maori culture as it exists today in New Zealand. Hard to miss, Rotorua’s geothermal activity surrounds the city with a distinct sulphuric smell and its various attractions provide easy access to bubbling mud and gushing geysers amidst stunning lake and forest landscapes.
Rotorua’s reputation as a spa destination goes back more than 160 years when the Pink and White Terraces, considered being the eight natural wonder of the world, still existed. Visitors travelled from all over to see the immense silica formations and bathe in the therapeutic waters within them. The Terraces were destroyed in 1886 during the eruption of Mt Tarawera, but Rotorua still is a haven for recreational and medicinal bathing.
Kawarau Jet is one Rotorua attraction that you should not miss! Click here for more information on our Lake Rotorua jet boating options...
Mokoia IslandMokoia Island, in the middle of the lake, is small but significant. The island is owned and governed by four local hapu (tribes) of Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Uenukukopako, Ngati Rangiwewehi and Ngati Rangiteaorere. Mokoia Island is very sacred to the local Maori people and holds a prominent place in Maori cultural history. Click here for more information on taking a scenic boat ride with K-jet past Mokoia Island...
This is the location of one of New Zealand’s most famous love stories, that of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. According to legend, the two lovers were forbidden to marry, and Hinemoa's father Umukaria, a chief from the shores of the lake, ordered that she not be allowed to travel by canoe to Tutanekai's village on the island.
Hinemoa decided to swim across the lake to the island, guided only by the sound of Tutanekai's flute-playing. Guided by the melody of the flute, Hinemoa swam through the dark waters until she reached Mokoia Island. She staggered exhausted up the beach and into the comfort of a natural hot pool.
Unlike many others, this story has a happy ending and still lives on today, with murals and statues to depict the scene, with Hinemoa Point where the swim began, and Hinemoa's Pool where it ended still to be seen.
Mokoia Island is also an important conservation reserve. A number of endangered species have been introduced to the island, including the Weka, North Island Robin (Toutouwai), and Saddleback (Tieke). You may also see native birds such as the Pukeko (swamp hen), Papango (Teal), and the famous Tui. Kiwi birds also live on Mokoia Island, but they are active only at night.
View an intricately carved Maori meeting house and enter a 1901 Tudor-style church set amidst steaming geothermal vents at the edge of Lake Rotorua.
Ohinemutu was the region's original Ngati Whakaue settlement. The location was chosen for its lakeside setting and abundant geothermal energy for cooking, bathing and heating. In pre-European times, Ohinemutu was the main centre for the Lake Rotorua region - visitors and food arrived at this bustling settlement before going on to the surrounding villages.
Today Ohinemutu is a suburb of Rotorua city, but the village retains a sense of importance. Standing on the forecourt of the marae, as steam rises through the pavers from the earth below, you can feel the spirit of this significant place.
The carving on the large meeting house is exquisite and highlighted by hundreds of inlaid shiny paua shells. Towards the lake's edge is the magnificently decorated Saint Faiths church. Inside the church, Maori carvings and woven panels add a unique dimension to the European Tudor-style architecture. The quality of this century-old artistry leaves you in no doubt of the importance of this building to Maori people. A memorable feature is a window etched with the image of Jesus clad in a Maori cloak - he appears to walk towards you across the surface of the lake.
At Ohinemutu you can see how the Maori and European cultures have collaborated.
Manupirua Hot PoolsTotally unique to New Zealand, and around the world, this little haven of paradise is locally owned. Available to you 365 days of the year for that crisp winter morning, a picnic anytime of the day, or even a romantic evening under a starlit night, soaking in the pools preparing you for a deep peaceful sleep.
As you bathe in the beauty of the unspoilt nature that surrounds you the world is left behind, and a moment of peace prevails.
Being accessible only by boat keeps this haven unspoilt and pristine. Enjoy the beauty of the land that surrounds you, the 6 hot mineral pools that await you, the beach to bask on, and the clear blue lake waters to cool down. All these amazing elements of nature available for you and your family to enjoy.
Book a trip to Manupira Hot Pools with Kawarau Jet, Rotorua - please click here for more information.
Hamurana Springs Hamurana Springs is the deepest natural fresh water spring in the North Island of New Zealand. Located to the north east of Lake Rotorua, the spring emerges from a rocky area within a Department of Conservation reserve. The spring is 280m above sea level and is approximately 15m deep. It produces an estimated 4 million litres of crystal clear water per hour at a fairly constant temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. The spring flows as a stream for approximately one kilometre before joining Lake Rotorua. In summer the stream is home to rainbow trout who prefer the cooler temperature of the spring water.
The spring water originates from the Mamaku Plateau from where it travels an incredible 70 years through underground aquifers, before reaching Hamurana, where it pushes up through volcanic (rhyolitic) rock. From there, it travels down the Hamurana River, into Lake Rotorua, through the Ohau Channel, to Lake Rotoiti. From there it flows down the Kaituna River out to the Pacific Ocean at Maketu.
Take a high-speed trip across Lake Rotorua with Kawarau jet to Hamurana Springs and explore the beautiful park - click here to find out more.