Lake Tarawera

Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty

Providing a mirror for the raw slopes of Mt Tarawera (1110m), this pretty lake is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, boating and walks. It may look tranquil now, but it was a very different story on the night of 10 June 1886, when the volcano sprang into life, blanketing the surrounding countryside in ash and mud up to 20m thick. Water taxis and cruises leave from the Landing at the end of Tarawera Rd.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty attractions

1. Te Wairoa, the Buried Village

3.62 MILES

The village of Te Wairoa was once the main staging post for Victorian-era tourists coming to visit the famous Pink and White Terraces. When Mt Tarawera…

2. Waimangu Volcanic Valley

6.32 MILES

The most visible wound from Mt Tarawera's 1886 eruption, the Waimangu geothermal area spreads down a valley to Lake Rotomahana (Warm Lake). The experience…

3. Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest


This magical park of forest giants is 5km southeast of town. From 1899, 170 tree species were planted here to see which could be grown successfully for…

4. Kerosene Creek

9.61 MILES

Pouring below Rainbow Mountain, this naturally heated stream offers a warm swimming hole beneath a cascade.

5. Whakarewarewa

9.73 MILES

Wander the streets of this living village, where the local Tūhourangi/Ngāti Wāhiao people have resided for centuries, with its homes, stores, cafes and…

6. Te Puia

10.01 MILES

Te Puia dials up the heat on Māoritanga (things Māori) with explosive performances from both its cultural troupe and Pōhutu (Big Splash), its famous…

7. Hell's Gate

10.03 MILES

Known as Tikitere to the Ngāti Rangiteaorere people, this highly active geothermal reserve lies 16km northeast of Rotorua on the Whakatāne road (SH30). It…

8. Rotorua Museum

10.24 MILES

Constructed in a striking faux-Tudor style, this museum, which began life in 1908 as an elegant spa retreat called the Bath House, has been closed since…