Formed approximately 700 years ago, Lake Ōkaro is a significant taonga (treasure) to the Ngāti Whaoa and Ngāti Tahu tribes. It’s the smallest of the Rotorua lakes under public management and is known for its quiet rural setting, surrounded by serene farmland.
While the lake has poor water quality, it’s generally safe for recreational activities such as trout fishing and water-skiing.
Water quality in Lake Ōkaro has fluctuated over the last 10 years. Historically, the lake has suffered from significant algae problems due to the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus - a result of actions to reduce nutrients coming from the (mainly agricultural) catchment and targeted alum dosing to lock phosphorus in the sediments. All actions in Lake Ōkaro's current action plan have been completed.