Lake Rotoaira is the little cousin of Lake Taupo, located to the south of the big lake.

Most of the land around Lake Rotoaira is wild, without any of the tourist activities that you find at Lake Taupo.

But it’s well worth a stop to admire the view at either the southern or northern ends of the lake.

In the south of Lake Rotoaira, you can turn off from Lake Rotoaira Road (Volcanic Loop Highway) and drive down the short road to the Lake Rotoaira Southern Access Point. There are Lake Rotoaira signs at the intersection, so you can’t miss it.

This spot gives you a brilliant position to get some beautiful photos with a nice perspective across the lake.

Lake Rotopounamu

If Lake Rotoaira is the little cousin, Lake Rotopounamu is the infant – a very small lake just to the east of the northern end of Lake Rotoaira.

This lake is totally wild, with no infrastructure at all around it.

The only way to view Lake Rotopounamu is to walk the forest track that starts off State Highway 47.

There’s a parking area just off the side of the highwa wtih room for a few dozen vehicles.

From the parking area, walk across the road and you’ll see the sign at the start of the Rotopounamu track.

The Rotopounamu Track is a loop trail that goes right around Lake Rotopounamu. It takes about 20 minutes to walk up the first part of the track before you get to the lake loop, which you can walk in either direction.

Most people take about 2 hours to do the whole loop. But the nature and scenery is so nice that you can easily spend several hours just taking your time and enjoying the birdlife and trees.

Lcoal nature groups have installed signs labelling some of the plant species, and there’s some beautiful signage illustrating some of the native forest birds you might be lucky to see or hear on the walk.

There are two sandy beaches along the walk, making a nice stop for a picnic.