Walking Waikato – Lake Rotoroa
Want to get out and about but don’t have much time? The Lake Rotoroa (or Hamilton Lake as it’s more commonly known) circuit is close to the city and close to home. It’s so convenient and the perfect sporting solution for busy Hamiltonians who want to enjoy a splendid old favourite.
Address: Lake Rotoroa (often called Hamilton Lake) near the hospital and adjacent to Killarney Rd, Ruakiwi Rd and Lake Crescent Hamilton.
Directions: You can’t miss this spot. Make your way along Pembroke Street towards the hospital and turn right into the Lake Rotoroa park entrance at the very beginning of Ruakiwi Road. You can also approach it from Lake Road.
Incline: None, Flat and friendly all the way.
Dogs: Yes. Bring the dogs on leads
Mountain bikes: No. Sorry.
Picnic area: Yes, soft grass areas by lake, numerous seating areas along walk and a couple of picnic tables along the route. Park your rug under a tree or near the swings and you’re set for a beautiful day.
Wheelchair friendly? Perfect for wheelchairs and one of the best around for those with physical disabilities.
Coffee stop: Yes, the Verandah Cafe does a roaring trade and is a great place to stop before or after your walk. Meet with a group of friends or finish up with a coffee or juice or yummy salad.
Duration: 40 mins.
Close to Home
Sometimes we’re so busy looking for the hidden gems we forget about the amazing walks and experiences right on our doorstep. Lake Rotoroa, with its magnificent expanse of peat lake, a recently renovated pathway (sections were fixed and upgraded in 2014) is one of Slater Chartered Accountants tried and true city walks.
It’s our personal daily favourite because it’s convenient, beautiful, and very central.
For those of you based in or near the city or at the Waikato Hospital, this 4 km circuit is a perfect stop-off on the way to or way home from work. It’s particularly beautiful mid morning and late afternoon in Summer when the weather has cooled a little.
Lake Rotoroa’s pathways fell into disrepair some years ago but with the recent paving upgrades and exceedingly well tended flora thanks to a great gardening team, this is one of the prettiest walks you can do in the centre of Hamilton.
There are a number of entry points for the pathway that lines the lake so you can take your pick and start at the cafe and playground area, or start from the sailing club around in Lake Crescent. The Lake Road carpark area is a good beginning point too, particularly if you are coming in from Raglan, Dinsdale or the Nawton areas. The Verandah Cafe carpark is a great starting point for those of you who are making your way over to the lake from Hamilton East, Hillcrest or Fairfield areas. If you have small kids this is often the favourite. The new water features and upgraded playground is a magical spot for the little ones, who can have a run around here after you’ve done the circuit with them in their strollers.
Everyone who does this walk regularly mentions says one of the major drawcards is the contrasting areas and vistas that comprise the circuit. You have the flax areas, where the path is dwarfed by the beautiful vertical leaf structures, then a little further on past the sailing club you have soft grasses and overhanging trees that line the lake’s shores.These spots are perfect for picnicking and are delightful on the weekend when the boats take off from the club for competition.
The reeds that line the bank are home to numerous pukeko and ducks and geese. Perfect for kids to watch and feed. But take note that you will need to supervise your small children as there is no fencing around the lake area.
The circuit is about 4km and is a great training spot. Just increase the number of times around the lake to extend your distance. Many will jog around the lake twice for training purposes, while those who want a leisurely stroll or quick fitness fix will opt for one lap and then stop off at the cafe for a quick bit to eat or a coffee.
If you are walking around the lake at midday in summer, make sure to take a hat as it can get quite hot. It’s cooler of course in the early mornings and later in the day.
Picnic by the water
There are many prime picnic spots along the lake walk. Parking isn’t a problem all the way around the lake, so drive around the circumference roads until you find a suitable spot in the sun. We often do a circuit and then go back to the car for our picnic basket, thermos and newspapers and make a morning or afternoon of it if the weather is fine.
You can also purchase a good selection of healthy take away food from the Verandah Cafe and bring it down to the water’s edge if you don;t want the hustle and bustle of the cafe.
There are grass verges for rugs, plenty of overhanding trees for shade, and also a fair few picnic tables on offer. The area on the Lake Rd side is home to a gaggle of geese. They’re often seen waddling across the road and have been known to stop traffic on many an occasion! The lake is also a great place to bring visiting relatives or friends during the holiday months. Visitors will enjoy the scenery and those interested in geography and history will also enjoy learning more about peat lake formation and the importance placed on them by the Maori as a food source and spiritual site. There are a number of information boards around the lake which give you this information and are well worth reading.
Make sure you get down to Hamilton Lake Rotoroa on the weekend or during holidays. If you want to start an exercise program it’s the perfect place to start your gentle cardio program again. Don’t miss out on this great spot this summer during your breaks. You’ll enjoy it and be very glad you took the time to visit this tried and true Waikato walking path.