Exploring Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi
Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) are one of four smaller lakes between Lake Rotorua and Lake Tarawera. The other two are Lake Okareka and Lake Okataina. I have been to three of the four now (the other being Lake Okataina), though lakes Tikitapu and Rotokakahi are pretty special in my books. Access to Lake Okareka is on the same road as the blue and green lakes, so you can easily do these three in one day.
You can get to the lakes from SH 30 (either from Rotorua or Whakatane) and turn into Tarawera Road. From the turn-off, It’s about a 15 minute drive to the Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park, and another five minutes to the Lake Tikitapu lookout - which is where I started my walk. The lake loop is about 1.5 hours, and there were plenty of people walking their dogs along the way. It’s an easy walk and the track is wide in most places. You can even walk it in jandals, but probably more comfortable in walking shoes.
This spot is just a short walk down to the lakefront from the Lake Tikitapu lookout car park, which is a five minute drive from the holiday park. The steps are to the right as you head into the start of the track. In the morning, it was peaceful because not many swimmers were there yet. Around midday when I returned, the water was a popular escape from the humidity. This Summer has felt more tropical for sure!
Lake Rotokakahi is adjacent to Lake Tikitapu - it’s owned by the local iwi (tribe) and considered tapu, or sacred. That means swimming and boat activities aren’t allowed. There’s still a track that runs alongside the lake, just no lake access. I had to admire the beautiful green colour through a break in the trees. It’s also a popular track with runners and mountain bikers.
When exploring the lakes, give yourself a few hours. There are always plenty of side tracks that are fun to explore (just try not to get lost!). The tracks are well sign posted - just make sure to bring your water bottle and some snacks, as the nearest shop is back at the holiday park.