Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a peaceful 230-hectare predator-free environment, where you will be surrounded by native and endangered flora and fauna, an impressive predator-proof fence, the lake itself and various wetlands.

Two tracks start from the carpark: the Loop Track (easy for the first 1km before becoming more difficult), and the Ridge Walk (moderate difficulty with steady inclines and steps). Boating, water-skiing, and kayaking are popular pursuits on the lake.

In 2008 the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust constructed a predator-proof fence around the reserve, creating a pest-free sanctuary that provides diverse habitats ranging from the lake itself to the wetlands, swamp forest and bush.

There is a wide variety of bird species living around the lake, and this is an important stopover for many different migrating birds. Bellbirds, tūī, kererū, grey warbler, fernbird and spotless crake frequent the forest. Water birds abound on the lake margins and often in the thickets about the tracks.

Key points of interest include:

  • An archaeological site, a midden, which holds the remains of many fresh-water mussels located at Lake Rotokare.
  • A lakeside picnic area close to the carpark.
  • The first section of the easy-graded Loop Track that includes a boardwalk that extends through the swamp forest.
  • The views around the lake and the fabulous birdlife.
  • The seats that have been installed in some of the best viewing places to enjoy the birdlife along the route.
  • One of the larger inlet streams that offers a rare opportunity to view banded kōkopu (adult whitebait) and tuna (eel) in their natural habitat.
  • The Ridge Walk following the predator-proof fence line for beautiful views of the lake, before it joins back with the Loop Track.

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 to help keep Rotokare pest-free.

Sturdy walking shoes are recommended, particularly in wet weather as there are some muddy areas.