Lake Rotokare Walkway


The lake, together with the surrounding 212ha of thriving native bush, forms the Rotokare Scenic Reserve which is administered by the South Taranaki District Council.

In 2008 the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust completed construction of a predator-proof fence around the reserve. This has created a pest-free sanctuary which provides diverse habitats ranging from the lake itself to the wetlands, swamp forest and bush.

Boating, water-skiing and kayaking are popular pursuits on the lake, although power craft are excluded from the lake from May to November to provide a peaceful refuge for birdlife. Dogs are prohibited in the reserve at all times.

Maori have utilised the lake and surrounding areas as a food source for many years and some of the flora is still used today by local Maori for medicinal purposes.

An archaeological site, a midden, which holds the remains of many fresh-water mussels is located at Lake Rotokare.

Route Description:

The walkway starts at the car park/picnic area and encircles the lake.

It follows the southern shore of the lake before entering native bush for most of the remainder of the walk. The track is well graded and a boardwalk extends through the swamp forest.

Sturdy walking shoes are recommended, particularly in wet weather as there are some muddy areas. Allow approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to enjoy the walk and the views around the lake, or a bit more if you want to take in the fabulous birdlife. Seats have been installed in some of the best viewing places to enjoy the birdlife along the route.

The walk emerges on Sangster Rd. a few hundred metres from the starting point. There is a wide variety of bird species living around the lake, and this is an important stopover for many different migrating birds. Bellbirds, tui, kereru, grey warbler, fernbird and spotless crake frequent the forest. Water birds abound on the lake margins and often in the thickets about the tracks.

One of the larger inlet streams offers a rare opportunity to view banded kokopu (adult whitebait) and tuna (eel) in their natural habitat. A double gate system allows entry to the reserve - simply push the entry button for the gates to open automatically.

Don’t forget to check your vehicle and bags for any stowaway rodents before entering, and help to keep Rotokare a special pest-free place.

Contact Details

Physical Address

Sangster Road Eltham