Opunake Lake, North Island, New Zealand

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

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All About Opunake Lake

Lake Locations: New Zealand - North Island, NZ -

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.

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

Find Places to Stay at Opunake Lake

If you’re considering a Opunake Lake 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 Opunake Lake Vacation

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

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com 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.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com 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.

Opunake Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Completion Year: 1921

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