Gorgeous Lakes of BOP
Lake Rotorua is the largest lake in the district and the most productive trout fishery in New Zealand. With the city of Rotorua on its shores, it is much valued and used by locals and tourists alike.
Lake Tarawera, meaning 'Burnt Spear' is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand. The lake was home to many small Maori villages and mission settlements until the Tarawera eruption in 1886. Legend has it that a "waka wairua" (phantom canoe) appeared on the lake as a portent of death a few days prior to the eruption.
Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)
In ancient times, the daughter of a high born chief was bathing in its crystal waters and wore a tiki (sacred greenstone neck ornament). The piece dislodged itself while she swam and the blue waters of the lake are believed to still be hiding the tiki tapu.
Its name means "the lake of sweet food". In early times, Maori grew sweet potatoes or kumara around the outside of the lake. The lake is now a very popular recreational resource and residential area. Lake Okareka has reasonably clear, clean water and is used extensively for recreation such as boating, swimming and fishing.
Legend has it that while hunting one day Ihenga’s dog Potakatawhiti disappeared for some time and on return, vomited up whitebait. Ihenga realised he was near water but because of the size of the particular bay he arrived into, was deceived into thinking the lake was small. He called it Lake Rotoiti, or Te Roto-whaiti-i-kite-ai-a-Ihenga-i-Ariki-ai-a Kahumatamomoe (the small lake discovered by Ihenga).
Lake Ohakuri can be found over 4km south west of Ngakuru. Both the reserve and the lake are used for boating and waterskiing. Due to electricity generation, the lake levels tend to rise and fall radically from time to time. Barbeques and picnic tables are available, also public toilets and a boat ramp.
The name Okataina means "The lake of laughter", a shortened form of the original name Te Moana-i-kataina-a-Te Rangitakaroro, which means "The ocean where Te Rangitakaroro laughed". Te Rangitakaroro and his warriors were resting when one member of his group referred to the lake as an ocean and this was seen as a great joke by the rest of the group. Their laughter echoed around the lake and now remains enshrined in its name.
Lake Atiamuri was formed in 1958 when the Waikato River was dammed for hydroelectric power generation. When the lake is first seen, the water appears to be almost black although it is in fact clean and has good visibility.
Lake Okaro is a significant taonga (treasure) to the Ngati Whaoa / Ngati Tahu tribes, and is the smallest of the Rotorua lakes under public management. Surrounded by farms, the lake has poor water quality but is safe for recreational activities including trout fishing and waterskiing. The lake is home to the grey teal, paradise shelduck and dabchick.
Lake Rotoma means "lake of exceptionally clear water". The lake currently has the best water quality of all the Rotorua lakes. Lake Rotoma is the cleanest of all the Rotorua lakes, with water clarity of around 11 metres. The clarity makes fly fishing more challenging. Four buoys near the centre of the lake mark a submerged Maori pa site.