Lake Rotoiti is the boutique cousin to the larger Lake Rotorua. Although Rotoiti is connected to its massive neighbor by the narrow Ohau Channel, it has its own laidback, gentle feel. The lake is lined with the westward facing decks of holiday homes perfect for sunset views. The trout fishing here is some of the best on the North Island, particularly toward the Ohau Channel, where the two lakes merge.
To get the full lake experience, head out on the water and sea kayak to hidden beaches where hot springs bubble beneath the sands, or go rafting down one of the waterfalls that spill into the surrounding rivers. For a serene view of the water, rather than an adventure out on it, make your way to the hiking trails in the area, which are packed with historical significance. The Hinehopu/Hongi Track, which leads toward Lake Rotoehu, makes for a 90-minute route that has existed since 1620. It’s believed that Hinehopu—a Maori chieftainess—had a home on the shores of Lake Rotoiti as well as Lake Rotoehu, and the forested walking path connecting the two lakes was created to link the two. Okere Falls is a good spot for a short stroll to see kayakers navigating the whitewater. Finish the day with a sunset sail on the calm waters of the lake, and bask in the simple, relaxing nature of one of Rotorua’s most popular lakes.