Opunake Lake, North Island, New Zealand

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Opunake Lake.

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Opunake Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: New Zealand - North Island -

Opunake Lake is situated off the coast of New Zealand near the town of Taranaki. Once a natural basin next to the Wajaur River, Opunake Lake was formed to generate electricity and now provides recreational activities for those who enjoy fishing, boating, coastal walks, swimming and more.

In the mid-1800s the land that is now Opunake Lake was used as a vegetable garden by the Armed Constabulary. In 1899, talk began among Town Board members and engineers about the possibility to use the land to store water from the Wajaua River which would enable hydroelectricity production. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Opunake Lake was actually created. The Opunake Power Station was then built at the southern end of Opunake Beach. The Power Station is fed water from Opunake Lake in order to generate power.

Visitors of Opunake Lake can enjoy one of 11 walkways in the Taranaki/Wanganui area, known as the Opunake Walkway. Starting at the Opunake Lake boat ramp walkers can behold the beauty of the lake as they walk counter clockwise around its peaceful waters. Once past the lake Opunake Walkway leads travelers to the sandy shore of Opunake Beach which is known to be the one of the safest swimming beaches on the coastline. The walkway ends north of the town of Opunake where walkers can find shopping, cafes and a movie theatre. The Opunake Walkway takes about 2 ½ hours to complete and provides walkers excellent views of New Zealand’s landscape.

After a pleasant walk around Opunake Lake, anglers may want to get out their fishing gear and try to reel in one of the many brown trout or rainbow trout that can be found in Opunake Lake or the adjacent Wajaua River. Visitors who do not like fishing may find boating, swimming or water skiing more to their liking. Along the shores of Opunake Lake there is something for everyone.

The area neighboring Opunake Lake offers so much for nature enthusiasts and sightseers and features farmlands, cliffs and coastal shorelines. The peeks of Mt. Taranaki towers over 8,261 feet above sea level and can be seen from the waters of Opunake Lake on clear days. Mt. Taranaki attracts visitors year round and is very popular among hikers and skiers. Mt. Taranaki is bordered by Egmont National Park, an outdoor wonderland with over 82,780 acres. The national park has over 50 rivers and streams and the beautiful Dawson Falls. Visitors can hike one of the many trails, view wildlife or fish in one of the many streams. Overnight accommodations can also be found at Egmont National Park.

Other places of enjoyment and adventure located near Opunake Lake are surf spots, Opunake Beach and Opunake Community Baths. The Opunake Beach offers lifeguards during the summer months and has a great camping and RV park. Families will enjoy the beach and children will delight in activities geared just for them, such as playing on the playground or in the kiddy pool. Recreational sports at Opunake Beach include deep sea fishing, windsurfing, boating and surfing. Surf spots can be found just about anywhere off Surf Highway 45. An artificial reef is in construction at Opunake Beach to provide even more surfing opportunities. A swimming pool complex open to residents of Opunake and Taranaki areas can be found at the Opunake Community Baths.

Opunake Lake and the surrounding locality is an excellent place to buy a summer home or permanent residence. The quiet and relaxing Opunake Lake draws a large number of retired people who can be found talking with neighboring friends or sitting on their decks enjoying lake or ocean views. Vacation rentals are also abundant in the Opunake Lake area. Tourist can enjoy the lake and nearby amenities while staying in the comfort of luxury.

With spectacular mountain views, nearby coastal waters, and numerous recreational activities it is no wonder Opunake Lake is a popular New Zealand vacation destination. Visitors can let the relaxing atmosphere soothe away their cares as they relax on sandy beaches or take a peaceful walk around Opunake Lake.

Custom Opunake Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Opunake Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Playground
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Opunake Lake

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Opunake Lake

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Opunake Lake photo gallery

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Opunake Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Completion Year: 1921

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