Nearby where I lived in New Zealand, a picturesque lake lay hidden. Māori for “greenstone lake”, Rotopounamu emulates its name. Unfortunately my photos do not do it justice but trust me, it as green as an emerald and just as precious.
The Lake is located within the Tongaririo National Park, mid-North Island, on the western side of Mount Pihanga. The bed of the Lake is actually a crater about 9 metres deep and is filled with the fresh and clear water that is only rivalled by other lakes in NZ. There are 4 streams that flow into Lake Rotopounamu but interestingly there is only one visible outflow point on the southern end that can only be seen when water levels are low, low, low. An outflow is the Lake’s natural drainage system, so there appears to be much water going in, but not much out.
Lake Rotopounamu is surrounded by dense forest but has a loop track weaving its way around the waters’ edges. The loop is a fairly easy track and takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete (omitting the time spent photographing the Lake and its surrounds which can add a good hour to the journey).
Beaches and coves are found interspersed throughout the track and have not-so-original but fairly accurate names such as Five Minute Beach, Ten Minute Beach and Long Beach. With so many beaches, it’s easy to enjoy a paddle (or a full dip) while cruising around the Lake. My boots came off and those sweaty (but I deny smelly) feet enjoyed a Norwegian-style dip in chilly but invigorating water.
The flora and fauna are unique also, and I was amazed by sizeable trees, and delighted in kereru (NZ wood pigeon) calls and the delicate chacks of the kaka (parrot). This track is great for a relaxing stroll and to take some time out to enjoy natures’ finest offerings. It’s a good one for families, and non-nature goers due to its length and difficulty, and if it rains mid-walk, well there are ready-made umbrellas ready to go!