Lake Ōkataina


Lake Ōkataina

With its steep, bush clad slopes and crystal blue sparkling water, Lake Ōkataina is scenically magnificent. It’s a great place to boat, fish or picnic with photo opportunities galore and gorgeous sandy beaches to enjoy.  

The name Ōkataina means ‘the lake of laughter’, a shortened form of the original name Te Moana-i-kataina-a-Te Rangitakaroro, which means ‘the ocean where Te Rangitakaroro laughed’. The story behind the laughter involves chief Te Rangitakaroro and his warriors, who were resting when one member of his group referred to the lake as an ocean, which was seen as a great joke by the rest of the group. Their laughter echoed around the lake and now remains enshrined in its name.

Lake Ōkataina was an important link in pre-European travel routes, when canoes were carried from Lake Tarawera to Ōkataina. The lake (and surrounding scenic reserve) is remote and beautiful, with native bush down to the water's edge boasting rimu, totara, rata and kahikatea.

An action plan to improve the lake’s water quality was adopted in April 2013 and has three main actions including land use change, pest control options for the catchment and the investigation of native bush and its impact on water quality.

Current Lakes Closures / Events

Open with special controls in place

Boat and watercraft access for Lake Ōkataina will be available four days a week, Friday to Monday daily 6am to 8pm, until April 29 2024, subject to meeting Check-Clean-Dry requirements. Boat and watercraft access to the lake will be closed from Monday at 8pm until Friday 6am. 

All other CAN requirements remain in place including the requirement for watercraft to go through the wash station before travelling directly to Lake Ōkataina on the day of access. If watercraft stay overnight, keeping their boat moored or on trailer at site, they can access the lake without being required to go through the wash station again.

From April 30 2024 to June 30 2024 access will be limited to three days a week, from Friday 7am to Sunday 6pm.

There are no health warnings.
Recent Monitoring Results
Click here to view full test analysis
There are currently no health warnings for Ōkataina
Water Quality
Recent Blue Green Algae
Monitoring Results
Click here to view latest test results