Lake Rotoma, North Island, New Zealand

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

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Looking for Lake Rotoma 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 Rotoma

Lake Rotoma is a remarkable lake. The lake is the easternmost in a chain of three lakes northeast of Lake Rotorua. Here in the Rotorua Region of the Bay of Plenty on New Zealand’s North Island, Lake Rotoma outshines its mates, Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoehu with its startling clarity. Indeed, Lake Rotoma is the cleanest and clearest lake in the entire Rotorua region. Located halfway between Rotorua and Whakatane on the coast, Lake Rotoma is a highly desirable location for a ‘bach’ (New Zealand slang for a vacation home) and the lake doesn’t disappoint with many vacation rentals along the shore.

Lake Rotoma has existed for 9500 years in the Rotoma caldera after lava flows blocked its outlet. The area still feels the effects of a restless earth, with earthquakes changing lake levels within recent history. Settled over 700 years ago by the Maori, the lake is rich in Maori history and legend. A submerged island within the lake is attributed to a powerful priest/sorcerer who cast a spell sinking the island. Seismographic activity often affects lake levels and the island has reappeared temporarily at least once in the 1900s due to earthquake. The lake is fed by two small streams and several seasonal inlets along with springs emptying into the lake. There is no surface outlet but subterranean seepage moves small amounts of water to neighboring lakes. Plans are in process to construct a drainage to Lake Rotoehu to manage high water levels in especially wet years but has not yet been completed.

Although very deep, Lake Rotoma is well supplied with small bays and coves with sand beaches and shallow sand bottoms. The southern shoreline around the town of Rotoma is lined with private homes, campgrounds and resorts but the majority of the northern half of the lake is public lands in the form of Lake Rotoma Scenic Reserve. Several public boat launch ramps and jetties are available for the visitor with his own watercraft. Although power boating, water skiing and jet skiing are popular, visitors who enjoy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking find plenty of space to engage in their sport. There are many secluded spots among the coves for a picnic or impromptu swim. Much of the shoreline is covered in planted pines along with native bush providing plenty of cover for wildlife and birds.

Lake Rotoma is an excellent trout fishery, with rainbow and hybrid tiger trout reaching 10 pounds on occasion. Local guides are available to help those unfamiliar with the lake find the best fishing, but many anglers have great success along the shoreline. The local general store at Rotoma Village will have the locations of boat launch sites and plenty of advice for those new to this lake. The area is well-supplied with walking and mountain biking trails and golf courses are nearby. One favorite attraction very close to Rotoma is Waitangi Soda Springs. These warm mineral springs, located near the southeast shore of Lake Rotoehu, are popular with visitors and are a sacred location to local Maori tribes. The springs have recently been updated to provide changing facilities and are carefully monitored to assure cleanliness.

Vacation rentals are plentiful along the shores of Lake Rotoma; many are private rentals, although limited commercial developments exist. Property owners, local Maori and District government keep a close eye on development, preferring to maintain the private lake appeal and to protect the pristine ecology of the lake. Consequently, any lodgings found along the shore still hold that lake community feel with parks, playgrounds and groceries within a short distance and beautiful vistas and sunsets across the water. Real estate is still available, usually existing homes and cottages. Much of the shoreline is accessible only by boat and lends a feeling of solitude to days spent on the lake.

Those wish a more active vacation can always head for Rotorua, 30 miles to the west. Here, nightlife, the arts and extreme sports vie for the visitor’s attention. The surrounding area is rich in geological and Maori history. Any visitor should plan to take time to visit local points of interest such as Te Wairoa Buried Village, the wildlife reserve on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua and Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. All of these attractions are within an hours drive of Lake Rotoma.

Heading east, the visitor can spend the day in the quaint seaside village of Whakatane on the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Here, the visitor can spend the day at Ohope Beach, take a cruise or a flight to White Island to view an active volcano or dive among schools of fish and seabed steam vents. Not to be missed is a whale watching cruise or even a swim with dolphins.

Make Lake Rotoma your home base for a week or two of fun, fishing and frolic. Before you end your visit, you’ll be looking for real estate to make a piece of Lake Rotoma your own forever.

Things to Do at Lake Rotoma

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Lake Rotoma

  • Tiger Trout
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Rotoma

If you’re considering a Lake Rotoma 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 Rotoma Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Rotoma 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 Rotoma Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,768 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,037 feet

Average Depth: 127 feet

Maximum Depth: 272 feet

Water Volume: 347,423 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 9 years

Drainage Area: 11 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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


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