Lake Maraetai, North Island, New Zealand

Also known as:  Maraetai Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Maraetai — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Maraetai cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Maraetai

Lake Maraetai in the Taupo Region of New Zealand’s North Island is a little-known vacationer’s dream. The 1013 acre reservoir just 33 miles north of Lake Taupo is a new lake; completion of the dam and power stations that form Lake Maraetai occurred in 1971. Created by the third dam on the Waikato River power generating system, the reservoir is only seven miles downstream from Whakamaru power station. The short stretch of the Waikato river is very remote and is accessible only by boat. The two power stations at Lake Maraetai produce the largest electricity output on the Waikato power system. The deep narrow reservoir that was formed when the dam was built across a narrow gorge provides a valuable side benefit in recreational opportunities for visitors to the area.

When the Waikato system was built, the location 53 miles southwest of Hamilton was difficult for workmen to get to. The temporary village of Mangakino was built to house workers and after completion, much of the village was returned to farmland. However, many of the workers had fallen in love with the scenic area and saw in the village the ideal location to own a vacation ‘bach’ or cottage on Lake Maraetai. Mangakino was kept alive and has transformed into a small vacation village that acts as tourist center for the reservoir. The village serves as headquarters for mail delivery, fuel, supplies and information in the area. A surprising number of vacation rentals, many the traditional Kiwi baches of the 50s and 60s can be rented by the week or month for very reasonable prices. Mangakino has developed a reputation as the traditional fishing or family lake vacation destination of choice.

Both brown and rainbow trout are sought by fishermen at Lake Maraetai. The narrow arms of the reservoir offer secluded fishing spots accessible only by boat. These same arms provide quiet waters for canoes and kayaks paddled by bird-watchers and nature lovers. The main body of the lake is favored for water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and power boating. an annual power boat regatta is held here every January. A jetty in Mangakino provides boat launch facilities for visitors. Whakamaru, Maraetai and Ohakuri hydro lakes and dams are nearby, all of which are popular for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking.

The area around Lake Maraetai has other attractions of interest to visitors; there is a golf course nearby and the town sports a small private museum dedicated to the building of the Waikato power system. River canyon tours via classic jet boat are available to tour the remote canyon of the river upstream to the Whakamaru dam. Southwest of the lake, Pureora Forest Park is well-known as one of the finest rain forests in the world. The thousand-year-old podocarp trees of giant totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea, tower high into the canopy, providing cover for the rare kokako, kaka, kakarihi and North Island robin. The park has extensive trail systems for the explorer’s pleasure. The Waikato River trails meander along the river system and are favorite spots for hiking and mountain biking.

Craters of the Moon geothermal area is located about 30 miles south of Lake Maraetai, near Taupo. This new geothermal area was created in the 1950s after the use of geothermal power lowered water pressure in the area so that it no longer held back the underground steam. Board walks have been built to give the viewers safe passage through the changing boiling mud pools and steam vents. Another favored sight in the area is the majestic Huka Falls, a short distance downriver from Lake Taupo. Nature loves will enjoy the Waipahihi Botanical Reserve at Taupo.

Vacation rentals at Lake Maraetai thus provide a wide variety of activities for every member of the family. Lodgings secured here can act as home-base to a selection of lakes and a range of activities. If the visitor watches real estate listings, he may be lucky enough to find the perfect traditional bach, farmhouse or cottage for sale. One thing is certain: once you visit Lake Maraetai, you’ll want to come back often!

Things to Do at Lake Maraetai

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Lake Maraetai

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Maraetai

If you’re considering a Lake Maraetai lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Maraetai Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Maraetai lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Maraetai Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Mighty River Power

Surface Area: 1,013 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 618 feet

Maximum Depth: 246 feet

Completion Year: 1971

Lake Area-Population: 1,200

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Maraetai Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Lake Maraetai Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Lake Maraetai Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Lake Maraetai Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Maraetai article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!