Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Scenic Reserve


13 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

5 Bird Watching

1 Hawera


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Aerial view from Bush Ridge


We are a pest free sanctuary. We have spent millions of dollars and hours eradicating mice, rats, stoats, weasels and possums from inside the sanctuary.

No pests have been in the reserve since it was enclosed with a 8.2km predator proof fence in 2006. As a consequence our bird life has flourished. We have over 150 Kiwi in the reserve, and four years ago we translocated Tieke (which had previously been extinct in Taranaki for over 150 years). In 2017 we translocated 40 hihi (stitchbirds).They are very rare and exist at only 7 sites on the planet!! You can see we take conservation very seriously.

In order to maintain a pest free sanctuary for the rare birds it is essential that all visitors check their vehicles and belongings for mice or rats and other pests.

We maintain a pristine reserve with clean toilets and an outside shower. We do not receive any government funding for the reserve. We do expect a donation from visitors camping the night. $5 per person, per night is a realistic donation and this can be put in the donation box by the visitor information centre.

Another point of interest is that we have regular Sunday volunteer mornings that all visitors are welcome to join. We do a number of tasks within the sanctuary to do with site maintenance and conservation and bio-security. A free lunch is provided afterwards. Meet at the classroom at 9am every Sunday.

Self-contained vehicles in front of the estuary only. Non-self-contained vehicles outside the public toilets and information centre only. Tenting on lake front only. Local Council By-laws allow only 3 self contained and three non-self contained camps per night.



Feature Value Info


North IslandTaranakiHawera


  • Freedom Camping
  • Walking
  • Bird Watching

Operating Season And Hours

The reserve is open 24 hours every day of the year. Enter through a set of double gates.

Local Council By-laws allow only 3 self contained and three non-self contained camps per night.. Maximum three night stay.

Boating is permitted on the lake between 1 December and 31 March, unless closed by local council for water quality reasons.


Showing 8 reviews of 13.

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Melanie's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Absolute gem of a spot. Lots of room, there is a limit to how many campers that can stay per night. The walks were great and the facilities clean and tidy. Huge thanks to the volunteers. Will definitely be back

Reviewed 3 months ago

Magic's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful place to stay and enjoy the reserve. All facilities and grounds in immaculate condition! Lots of space to enjoy. Could bring a kayak or paddle board to enjoy the lake. Beautiful sunset too.

Reviewed 7 months ago

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Josh's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Great place, clean facilities and the walk around the lake is highly recommended.
Stayed 2 nights during a normal working week so it was very quiet and peaceful during the day. Unfortunately, between 5 and 8 each evening 2-3 jetskis would hoon around the lake before packing up and returning the site to a calm oasis.

Reviewed 10 months ago

Av's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Love this place. Great to see the bird population increasing with the protection for them. But I can’t understand how jet skis and motor boats are allowed here ripping around disturbing the water fowl and the tranquillity.

Reviewed 10 months ago

Melisa's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Great place, clean toilet and beautiful view

Reviewed 12 months ago

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Rwesseling's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Great stop. Beautiful area, amazing lake and walkway. Carpark was empty when we stayed. There is a donation request which we felt was much deserved.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Boardwalk Blss's avatar

Boardwalk Blss

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Wonderful overnight spot for up to 6 SC campers in a fenced predator free preserve. Well worth a visit with the possibility of seeing kiwis at night (tho we were not lucky enough!) 1.5hr walk around the lake with lots of native birds to see and hear. Clean public toilets and information on wildlife available 24/7. Quiet when we were there in winter mid week tho it may not be during the summer months as boating on the lake is allowed. Suggested donation of $10pp to help support local volunteers and the Taranaki Regional Council in improving and maintaining the preserve.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Charlie's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Definitely more campers than posted, but all quiet and respectful. Teamed up with the neighbours to go look for kiwi with much success!

I don't mind sites with no potable water, but the toilet block could do with an outdoor sink or proper drain for NSC campers to properly dispose of dishwashing greywater - it was either muck up the small sink inside, or toss in the bushes.

Happy to provide a donation to this wonderful space and support their volunteer efforts!

Reviewed over 2 years ago