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Rotorua Te Arawa lakes still at record levels heading into summer

December 2023

Lake levels in the Rotorua region are the highest they have been since the 1970s and they won’t be receding any time soon.

Rotorua Lakes Council and Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council are working together to ensure that people from around the country using our lakes this summer are aware of the hazards resulting from the high water levels.

People are also being encouraged to ensure they are aware of the risks that exist at some of our lakes (see below) and consider other alternatives or other lakes.

Beaches and launching ramps at some popular lake destinations are currently under water and not accessible and there are also lots of other hidden hazards.

Rotorua Lakes Council Group Manager Infrastructure & Environment, Stavros Michael, says although the high lake levels may be disappointing for frequent summer visitors, ensuring the safety of the public around our lakes comes first.

“Many of our lakeside beaches and infrastructure like jetties and ramps are currently fully submerged and we want to ensure that visitors are aware of the dangers in place.   

“In some locations, amenities like toilets and BBQ areas are also completely under water. We have set up temporary toilets at some locations, but also want to remind people that we have an array of other fantastic spots for people to enjoy where they can avoid the risks associated with the high lake levels.”

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Maritime Officer (Lakes) Roly Bagshaw says there are a range of navigational hazards that skippers need to be aware of in the affected lakes.

“Navigational aids such as buoys may have shifted in recent months and for some lakes, structures that were previously above water, such as a sign or a fence could now be a hidden or floating hazard.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is that everyone keeps a good lookout, especially at speed, and follows the rules to keep both themselves and other lake users  safe when on the water this summer,” Mr Bagshaw says.

Signage has been installed around a number of Rotorua lakes to notify the public of the risks before they enter the water.

And for those looking for alternatives, there are plenty of other activities and popular destinations to visit in Rotorua this summer. Check out Rotorua Nui and RotoruaNZ for upcoming summer activities.

For further information on the lakes impacted this summer, please visit Rotorua Lakes Council lake levels webpage.



Lakes in the Rotorua region where water levels are particularly high:

Lake Rotorua:

  • Reeme Street, Ngongotahā, Lake Rotorua
  • Hamurana Boat Ramp, Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotomā:

  • Matahi Spit, Lake Rotomā
  • Merge Lodge Reserve, Lake Rotomā

Lake Rotoiti:

  • Hinehopu (Tamatea Street), Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rerewhakaaitu

  • Guy Roe Reserve (Lake Rerewhakaaitu)

Lake Ōkaro

Lake Ōkataina

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)