Surrounded by picnic areas, camping spots and bushwalking trails, this scenic lake is a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders.
The glassy waters of Lake Tarawera wrap themselves around one side of the infamous Mount Tarawera, a towering volcano with a tragic history. This is the largest of the lakes that surround the volcano, covering an enormous 41 square kilometres (16 square miles). Visit the lake to fish for rainbow trout, swim at its hot water beaches and hike its network of walking trails to reach campsites, picnic spots and cascading waterfalls. Tour operators in the area can facilitate your adventures but Lake Tarawera’s accessibility is what attracts its broad range of visitors.
Explore the area surrounding the lake on foot to discover the natural beauty of Lake Tarawera. Hiking trails traverse the park, with a high concentration of trailheads at the Tarawera Outlet. Embark on a 4-hour return trip to the Tarawera Falls to feel the thick mist generated by the cascading water. If you’re feeling more adventurous, trek to the Hot Water Beach Campsite. Bring ample water and food for the journey, which takes 6 hours each way. Reserve a campsite to avoid disappointment during the popular summer months.
Those not up for a 6-hour trek can still discover the campsites and picnic areas of Lake Terawera. Take a water taxi to reach Hot Water Beach and bathe in the warm shallows. The geothermic activity of the volcano has created pockets of heated water where you can relax with a warm soak.
Learn about the tragic historic of the Māori village of Te Wairoa, which was destroyed in the 19th century when the volcano erupted, forming the lake. Join a scenic boat tour to have landmarks pointed out to you.
Lake Terawara is located about 45 minutes from the Kawerau township by car. Obtain a permit prior to arriving at the lake. This service, along with tour operators and charter boats, can be arranged in Kawerau.