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General

Volcanic activity over thousands of years created large craters that filled with water to form delightful lakes throughout the Rotorua region.

The lakes are steeped in Maori history. You'll hear stories of phantom canoes seen gliding in the mist and lovers who swam the lakes to rendezvous in secret hideaways.

Closest to Rotorua, the famous Green and Blue lakes sit adjacent to each other in lush forest settings. The Green Lake (Lake Rotokakahi) is a sacred and tapu (forbidden) area - this fact is respected by both Maori and European people. The Blue Lake, on the other hand, is a popular recreational area. An easy walking track offers a two-hour hike around the lake. Starting at the Blue Lake Reserve, it passes through native and exotic forests with quiet beaches along the way. The track also passes along a low ridge between the two lakes - from here you can appreciate the striking difference in the lakes' colours. The blue colour can be attributed to rhyolite and pumice on the lake bed; the emerald green colour is the result of a shallow, sandy bottom.

Copyright 1999-2009 Tourism New Zealand

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