Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Scenic Reserve


16 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

6 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


Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Commercial organisation


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 16.

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Sarah schnell's avatar

Sarah schnell

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful, isolated, peaceful location. Pram friendly bushwalk to pontoon. Toilets are tidy and cold outdoor shower for cooling off.
Lake is great for kayaking but no swimming due to bacteria levels.
Bird life is great to wake up to and kiwi spotting is possible at night if you have a red light. We met so many new friends on our one night stay.
Feels like you are in Jurassic Park when going through the big gates!! Can't complain at all.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Laura E's avatar

Laura E

Ranking: 10/10

Must visit! Such a beautiful bush walk, I saw birds that I had never seen before, even the chance to see kiwi if you stay the night. Also they had Wi-Fi, facilities were okay but no potable water

Reviewed 5 months ago

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Cphm41's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Perfect for peace and birdsong! Loved hearing the morpork and other wildlife. Facilities are clean, just toilet no shower, but all good for one night. Did the lake loop walk in an hour, very muddy but well maintained. Volunteers do an amazing job here. Meant to be just 3 self contained and 3 non, but few people turned up late in the evening and snuck in. Would definitely stay again.

Reviewed 7 months ago

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 10 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 about 1 year 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 over 1 year 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 over 1 year ago

Melisa's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Great place, clean toilet and beautiful view

Reviewed over 1 year ago