Lake Rotoiti and its environs offer a huge range of activities. Here are just a few ideas, and some links to get more information. LRCA don’t endorse or promote any of the options below, but instead offer them as a sample of accommodation and things to do in the area. We’ve endevoured to provide links to website where possible, but please don’t forget that a lack of a website doesn’t mean somewhere isn’t worth visiting.
Of course Rotoiti is just one part of the Rotorua district, with another 15 lakes in the area to explore as well as a host of other activities in Rotorua itself and further afield. Check out websites like www.rotorua.nz.com, www.doc.govt.nz, and www.tourism.net.nz for more ideas.
As well as the larger facilities like the VR Rotorua Lake Resort in Okawa Bay and Ramada Resorti in Mourea there are smaller boutique hotels and accommodation such as Moose Lodge & Golf Resort and also Lake Rotoiti Lodge. Not actually on Rotoiti but down a beautiful if winding drive through some of the best examples of native forest is Lakes Lodge Okataina
There is a camping ground at Okere Falls (Lake Rotoiti Holiday Park) which also has backpacker accommodation, cabins and more. Check their website.
Lake Rotoiti is renowned around the world and offers some of the best fishing in New Zealand. There are several fishing shops in Rotorua with helpful staff who can point you in the direction of guides or give you advice on local conditions.
Also check out nzfishing.com for information on where and how you can fish.
Bushwalks and Biking
DOC maintains Reserves at Okere Falls and Hinehopu, with enjoyable walks through both. Also the drive into Okataina is well worth while, not only is it a beautiful drive in, but there are also dozens of tracks ranging in length from a few minutes to a day’s walk around the Lake to Tarawera and back.
The Rotorua district is full of areas great for getting out on a mountain bike. Check out the rides through the Redwood Forest in Rotorua which has walking tracks, biking tracks and more. Also check out the new cycle track.
Lake Rotoiti has two unique hot water springs. First there is the Manupirua Springs Hot Pools. Located in Manupirua Bay, they are only accessible by boat and are one of the jewels of Lake Rotoiti – in fact there can be few places in the world better than sitting in the pools on a fine but cold winter’s day! Another Boat-Only treat is Hot Water Beach where you can just dig your toes in the sand to find hot water.
Technically not part of Rotoiti but just past it, on the edge of Lake Rotoehu you can find the Waitangi Soda Springs. They have been revitalised in recent years and are well worth the drive (yes, you can drive there, take SH30, and about 5km past the end of Rotoiti turn off at Manawehe Rd). These pools are a real cultural as well as bathing experience. They form a daily part of life for locals and are still a ‘living’ part of local culture. They’re also a great soak and a perfect spot to calm the children down before dinner! While you’re there check out the wild roses that grow around the actual hot springs.
Rotoiti provides plenty of opportunity for waterskiing, and if you’re wanting to ski from shore then there are 8 ski-lanes around the lake, from Hot Water Beach to Hinehopu. Check out their locations here.
Lake Rotoiti has a small permanent population making it hard for stores and cafes to survive around the lake. However those that we have are well worth checking out. Okere Falls has the Okere Falls Store – more than a store it is also a cafe come boutique deli. They carry wine and beer as well as a range of groceries and the essentials of life like locally produced olive oil and great espresso. And their bratwurst is to die for. Mourea has the Happy Angler, a dairy/ grocery store that also does a range of take-aways. Mourea also has the Grill at the RV Rotorua Lake Resort if you’re looking for a fine dining experience.
The Eastern end of Rotoiti is served by Emery’s Store just east of Gisborne Point. They combine dairy, grocery, off-licence and take-aways. Although it is actually at Lake Rotoma, the residents of Eastern Rotoiti count the Rotoma General Store as being local as well. They sell dairy and grocery items as well as petrol (the only petrol station between Kawerau and Rotorua) and have an off-licence for your wine and beer needs. There is also an excellent cafe there that does take-aways as well as a great range of sit-down food.
If you have a boat there are myriads of little bays and beaches all around Rotoiti you can explore. However if you’re relying on a car to get you to a beach you are more limited. Although there are public areas at Okere Falls, Otaramarae and Gisborne Point, the main two public beaches readily accessible by car are Ruato Bay and Hinehopu. Both have picnic areas and Hinehopu has public toilets and also coin-operated bbqs.