Bird song and virgin forest greet visitors as they walk through a slice of primal New Zealand. You are surrounded by filtered light and the sense of bird life fluttering past. Lunch at the lakeside is recommended. Remember to pack your picnic sandwiches and water bottle. Rotopounamu is a crater lake located on western side of Mount Pihanga. It is nine metres deep and covers one square kilometre.
There is a walking track around the lake. At the junction of Five Minute Beach and Ten Minute Beach turn right towards Ten Minute Beach. Ten Minute Beach has picnic tables and a toilet. The track traverses the northern edge of the lake where the lake’s tributary streams enter. It appears the lake’s water levels are spring fed as visible tributaries cannot be seen unless the water level is low. As you are walking into a crater lake there are track areas that descend or ascend steadily.
The track is gravelled and well maintained. Although young children might find sections a little steep it is worth the effort of discovering Twenty Minute Beach. You will appreciate the name as it probably took you an hour or so to get to the picnic table. For younger children the steep ascent could be a challenge. Promises of lunch and a swim in the lake should work without parents having to lug the children over the steeper parts of the walk.
Shorter track option. From the road, take the track up to the junction and turn left. This short 20 minute walk will bring you to Ten Minute Beach. Safety : Take care crossing the road to the walk entrance as the car park is on the opposite side of the entrance. You are crossing a road with a speed limit of 100km.
Duration: 2 – 6 hours
Where is Lake Rotopounamu?
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