Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Scenic Reserve


9 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

5 Bird Watching

2 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 9.

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Melisa's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Great place, clean toilet and beautiful view

Reviewed 26 days ago

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 2 months ago

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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 5 months 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 almost 2 years ago

Flatlanders's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

12/10. Beautiful paradise, birds and birdsounds everywhere. Small donation is peanuts for what you experience here. Stayed 2 nights due two van-plumbingproblem-fix in Stratford. Did both walks (lakewalk and ridgewalk (more a follow the fence-walk)) instead of Mt.Taranaki. Both great. Loved the birds-experience and jungleforest even more than the views. Saw so many sometimes very curious birds and on our nightwalk a kiwi! Very happy. All other campers were respectful and quiet. Clean toilet. Sweet little info-nook. Cold shower out of order, but who cares. Drinkwater. Love what the volunteers created here. Beautiful experience. Thank you!

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Rotokare Scenic Reserve responds:

Thank you for you kind words and respect for this wonderful place.
We love our volunteers too! They are the life blood of what we do every day.
Our vision is ecological restoration of this wonderful site. Equally important is sharing the site with our community and visitors.

Regarding the shower - our water is spring fed and very difficult to maintain capacity over the summer.

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Emily's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful, scenic and peaceful camping spot. The space is reserved for 6 tents only so the area is quiet and relaxing. There's 2 walks around the lake, where you may even spot a kiwi (make sure you walk at night and take a red torch to see them!) The camping spot is quite exposed so take some warm clothes! Toilet facilities are clean and well maintained and the area is generally very well looked after.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Rotokare Scenic Reserve responds:

Thanks Emily. Glad that you had a relaxing stay here.

Cherie Marhsall's avatar

Cherie Marhsall

Ranking: 10/10

Rotokare Reserve is a gem of the southern Taranaki Region. We stayed for 3 nights over Christmas. It was peaceful and outlook of the bush and lake were beautiful. This Reserve is run by volunteers which is awesome. It was super clean and well cared for. The two walks were excellent and teeming with native bird life. 10 Stars!

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Rotokare Scenic Reserve responds:

Thanks Cherie! Glad that you enjoyed your stay and our fabulous wild life.

thibaut vernelle's avatar

thibaut vernelle


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful little lake, lots of space, nice walk, brand new facilities.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Rotokare Scenic Reserve responds:

Heureux que vous avez apprécié votre séjour