City Name
Home » Recent posts » Hidden Oasis: Unveiling Auckland’s Most Enchanting Lakes

Hidden Oasis: Unveiling Auckland’s Most Enchanting Lakes

Hidden Oasis Unveiling Auckland’s Most Enchanting Lakes

The Auckland region has mesmerised travellers from all around the world with its captivating landscapes and breathtaking sights. From its pristine beaches to its diverse wildlife, there is no shortage of wonderful stuff to be found in Auckland.

However, one thing that doesn’t get mentioned often is Auckland’s serene lakes, which are scattered around the city. Let’s get into what makes these lakes so great and why they deserve to be on your itinerary!

Lake Pupuke

Photo credit:

Address: North Shore, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand (Google Maps)

Located on the North Shore, Lake Pupuke is very popular among the locals thanks to its heart-shaped features.

This lake was once a crater made by the Auckland volcanic field approximately 193,200 years ago. The crater was huge enough to hold its collected rainwater, transforming into a lake many centuries later.

Fast forward to today, and the lake is now surrounded by low hills that complement its natural beauty. It’s also now home to many native birds in the area, and its waters are inhabited by freshwater fish that are released from a nearby fish hatchery.

Due to its proximity to the city proper, you’ll often find many families picnicking and swimming here. The lake is also a popular training site for many of Auckland’s college rowing crews. 

Pro tip:
You can learn more about Lake Pupuke’s history by visiting the historic PumpHouse Theatre, located on the lake’s southeast shore.

This building is a Category II protected building and once served as a major supplier of freshwater for the residents living in the area. Today, it’s used as a theatre and arts centre for the residents of Takapuna.

Lake Rototoa

Photo credit: creative_time_photography_nz


Address: Auckland 0874, New Zealand (Google Maps)

Lake Rototoa, formerly known as Lake Ototoa, is a beautiful lake located south of Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. The name change was made in 2013, and it means “Lake of the Warrior” in Maori. 

This lake holds cultural significance, as it tells the story of the legendary Maori warrior Kawharu. It is said that Lake Rototoa is one of the many lakes made by Kawharu’s footsteps as he engaged the enemy tribes in the area.

Among the chain of sand-dune lakes found along the western coastline of the North Island, this lake is the largest and deepest. It has a total area of 110 hectares and a maximum depth of 26 metres.

Another amazing thing about Lake Rototoa is its rich biodiversity. The lush vegetation and small hills that surround it have become the home to many native bird species, like the New Zealand grebe and scaup.

Pro tip: Lake Rototoa is one of the best places in the Auckland region to do some birdwatching. Make sure to bring binoculars and a good camera before visiting this lake!

Waitākere Reservoir

Photo credit: lushplacesnz

Address: Waitākere, Auckland, North Island (Google Maps)

The Waitākere Reservoir, nestled in the scenic Waitākere Ranges near Auckland, is a noteworthy addition to our list. Completed in 1910, this concrete gravity dam spans 25.1 hectares and holds 1.76 million cubic metres of water. 

Historically, the dam was made to address the water shortages Auckland faced in the late 19th century. It was built at the location of Waitākere Falls, which was a highly popular tourist spot during that time. 

While the Waitākere Reservoir isn’t a natural lake, the spectacular hills and native bush that surround it provide breathtaking views. Some noteworthy native flora to look out for during your visit are the massive kauri trees and dense tawa trees.

You can quickly reach this reservoir by trekking the mildly challenging 2.9-kilometre trail starting from Scenic Drive. Make sure to bring a packed lunch, as there are cosy picnic spots available by the edge of the reservoir.

Pro tip: Please follow all signs you may encounter while walking along the trail. Some parts of the trail and reservoir are closed off to the general public to avoid exposing the kauri trees to an incurable disease called the kauri dieback disease.

Lake Kawaupaka

Photo credit: dai_henwood

Address: Auckland Region, North Island (Google Maps)

Lake Kawaupaka is a beautiful lake that boasts a rich history and unique charm. It was formed around 7,200 years ago when it transformed from a river valley to a freshwater lake due to shifting sand dunes. 

Those sand dunes became the Bethells Beach (Te Henga) we know and love today. Historically, the lake was once a part of the traditional rohe (territory) of Te Kawerau ā Maki, who gave it the name Roto Kawaupaka.

What makes this lake a must-visit is its natural beauty, which consists of lush forests, tranquil waters, and birdlife. In fact, the name Kawaupaka was a reference to the little black cormorant, a species of bird native to the area.

With a length of only 500 metres, this lake is one of the smaller ones you’ll find on the list. Still, there are plenty of activities you can do during your visit here, like birdwatching, picnicking, and taking nature photos.

Pro tip: Please take note that swimming in Lake Kawaupaka isn’t recommended. That’s because, as a dune lake, it contains algae growth and sediments.

Lower Nihotupu Reservoir

Photo credit: albertngphotos

Address: Auckland, North Island (Google Maps)

The Lower Nihotupu Reservoir is another man-made lake that will certainly amaze you. Nestled in the Waitākere Ranges near Auckland, this reservoir holds both natural and historical significance. 

Constructed between 1945 and 1948, this dam was built to support the increased water demand of Allied troops stationed in the country. Interestingly, its construction was also considered an advancement in soil mechanics science in New Zealand.

Today, the Lower Nihotupu Reservoir is one of the five reservoirs that supply water to Auckland City. It covers an area of 52.9 hectares and has a capacity of 4.6 million cubic metres, making it one of the largest lakes you can visit in the region.

The reservoir’s rich biodiversity offers some stunning views you don’t want to miss out on. Some amazing examples of native plants you’ll find here are the ancient kauri, puriri, and rimu trees.

Pro tip: Before heading to the reservoir, make sure to stop by the Arataki Visitor Centre first! This place will provide you with some helpful information, like maps, that you can use to easily navigate the trails in the area.

Lake Wainamu

Photo credit: gordon1711

Address: Auckland Region, North Island (Google Maps)

Just northeast of Lake Kawaupaka is where you’ll find its bigger sibling, Lake Wainamu. It’s a beautiful place located near Te Henga with a rich history worth learning. 

Like Lake Kawaupaka, it was once a part of the Waitākere River tidal estuary until massive sand dunes formed at Te Henga, blocking it off from the other estuaries. Its name, Wainamu, refers to the sandflies or mosquitoes found near the lake. 

Today, this lake boasts pristine waters, surrounded by native bush and a massive dune of black iron sand. Most of its water comes from the Wainamu Stream, which is where you’ll also find the visually stunning Wainamu Falls.

Some exciting activities you can do here are sand dune surfing and swimming. To reach the lake, you can park at the Te Henga Walkway parking lot and choose to either follow the stream or venture over the sand dune.

Pro tip:
If you want to get some picture-perfect shots of the lake, the best place to do that would be from the Lake Wainamu Track. 

Once you’re done, consider making a quick visit to the Te Henga Walkway to explore the coast and capture some beautiful sunset photos.

Tomarata Lake

Photo credit: nandhansai


Address: Auckland, North Island (Google Maps)

Next on our list is Tomarata Lake, a beautiful oasis you’ll find south of Te Ārai. It has an interesting origin, as, unlike a typical lake, it owes its existence to sand dunes that prevented inland water from flowing out to the sea.

Amazingly, most of the lake’s water primarily comes from rainfall and seepage through the sand. The lack of a river or stream as a water source has allowed it to remain secluded since its formation 12,000 years ago.

The seclusion is what makes this lake worth visiting, as it offers a tranquil setting that’s hard to find elsewhere. Tucked away between rolling hills and lush greenery, you’ll have the chance to forget your worries for a moment during your visit here.

Aside from the picturesque scene, there’s an extensive number of freshwater wetlands surrounding the lake, providing habitat for birds and aquatic life. 

The lake’s natural beauty has also led to it becoming a popular spot for swimming and kayaking.

Pro tip: Tomarata Lake isn’t the only place worth checking out in Tomarata! During your visit, be sure to stop by other amazing natural attractions in the area, like Spectacle Lake and Te Ārai Beach.

Lake Kuwakatai

Photo credit: manuelphotographynz


Address: Auckland, North Island (Google Maps)

While it isn’t a popular tourist destination, Lake Kuwakatai’s quiet charm and ecological significance make it a place that’s worth exploring. Located on the south head of Kaipara Harbour in New Zealand, it has a surface area of 36 hectares.

Despite its relatively small size, it boasts a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Thanks to its turbid and nutrient-enriched waters, Lake Kuwakatai has created a distinct ecosystem, dominated by hornwort. 

It also serves as a haven for resident and migratory waterfowl, like swans and ducks. The large avian population in the area makes it one of the best places to do some birdwatching.

Aside from birds, Lake Kuwakatai is also home to many exotic fish species, like koi carp. If you love exploring nature and learning more about the different animal species that inhabit the Auckland Region, this place is certainly a must-visit!

Pro tip: As Lake Kuwakatai is considered a haven for many of Auckland’s native flora and fauna, it’s important to take extra care when visiting the area. Make sure to leave no traces of human presence, like campfires and litter!