Rotopounamu Track

Rotopounamu Track - Whakapapa

Rotopounamu Track



5 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Lake Rotopounamu


5 km return | 2 hours return

Lush forest surrounds this tranquil lake in a crater beside Mount Pihanga


Lake Rotopounamu is signposted on the left 8 km from junction of SH41 and SH47. There’s a large parking area on the opposite side of the road from the start of track.


A steady climb of 20 minutes brings you to the start of the loop, which can be followed in either direction.

Occasional side tracks lead to the lake edge, however Long Beach is the natural stopping place. Here the fine gravel beach is the place to soak it up. There’s a toilet and benches too.

Continue back to the start of the access track.


Lake Rotopounamu occupies a hollow on the western flank of Pihanga (1326m). It is only 7.9 m deep and lies at 710 m altitude. It cover 0.89 k


Some towering rimu and sizeable kahikatea flank the lake shore.


A partnership between DoC and Project Tongariro is aiming to reduce predator numbers in the area. Rats, stoats, cats, possums and pigs have decimated birdlife and traplines are now installed and maintained by volunteers.

Polynesian History

In Maori, ‘roto’ means ‘lake’ and ‘pounamu’ is ‘greenstone’.

One story relates to Pihanga being a beautiful maiden, fought over by Tongariro, Taranaki, Tauhara and Putauaki.


The lake is fully swimmable and devoid of taniwha.


Feature Value Info


DOC Central North Island

Central government organisation


North IslandRuapehuTongariro / National Park Village


  • Walking
  • Free


Anders Dahlgren's avatar

Anders Dahlgren

Ranking: 4/10

Very easy walk around the lake, unfortunately the view is covered so you are mostly walking in the bushes except for a few 100 meters on a beach. There are no tables at the picnic place but a couple of benches to sit on.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

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Eva Hesse's avatar

Eva Hesse


Ranking: 8/10

An easy track around Lake Rotopounamu with many possibilities to stop at the lakeside to have a break. We saw so many different forms - very well labelled trees. Very informative!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Gail Hunter's avatar

Gail Hunter

Ranking: 10/10

Great short walk. Up a hill through forest to get to the lake. Beautiful views of the calm blue water all around the lake. Secluded spots for picnics or excellent to quietly sit and reflect.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

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Zoe's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

An initial uphill effort makes the views and swim in the lake totally worth it. Seemingly untouched native bush teeming with bird-life. Beach is perfect for picnics and paddling. A good distance for the little tikes (and those who end up carrying them)

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in September 2013

Marek Woznica's avatar

Marek Woznica


Ranking: 8/10

A superb little walk of 90mins or so. Isolated and beautiful.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in November 2011

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner