- Walks & Hikes
At 13km in length, Lake Rotoroa is the largest of the twin lakes in the Nelson Lakes National Park and is translated as ‘long lake’ in Māori.
Fed by the D’Urville and Sabine rivers, Lake Rotoroa is completely surrounded by beech forest and mountains. Despite its scenic resemblance to Lake Rotoiti, it offers somewhat of a different experience for visitors and day-walkers, and there’s even a lakeside campsite for those who want to stay overnight.
As you venture out onto the jetty at the head of the lake, you’ll discover a picnic table where you can quite literally enjoy lunch on the waterfront, even in the midst of a national park. Watch as the eels dart around below and admire the spectacular scenery that surrounds you before setting out to explore one of the many lakeside tracks.
The Rotoroa Nature Walk starts at the picnic area, a gentle 25-minute return walk that takes in the greatest variety of tree fuschia, shrubs, climbing vines, mosses and ferns. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little bit more challenging, the Braeburn Walk is a 2-hour return trip under the canopy of beech and podocarp forest to a gorgeous mossy waterfall. The 3-hour return walk along the Pokira 4WD track is also popular, venturing up into the Muntz Range and offering panoramic views over Lake Rotoroa and the alpine mountain ranges that encircle it.
Those looking to tramp deeper into the national park can choose to shed some time and catch a water taxi across the lake.
But the fun doesn’t stop there – Lake Rotoroa is like paradise for recreational fishing and boating, and there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Kayaking or canoeing the length of the lake places you within touching distance of large native trees, offering an unparalleled experience amongst nature.
How to get there: Lake Rotoroa is located at the end of Gowan Valley Road, just 40 minutes from the alpine village of St Arnaud.
Photo credits: Giselle Purcelle.