Lake Karapiro is a manmade reservoir lake on the Waikato River in North Island, which is along the northwestern coast of New Zealand. Lake Karapiro is close to many popular New Zealand cities. It is 170 kilometres from Auckland,127 kilometres from Taupo, 81 kilometres from Rotorua, and 47 kilometres from Hamilton. The name “karapiro” comes from the words “kara”, which means ‘stone’, and “piro”, which means ‘evil-smelling’. According to local legend, Lake Karapiro was the stronghold of the ancient tribal chief O-Te-Ihingarangi, and the site of a defensive pact between the Ngati Haua and the Tauranga tribes during the Land Wars, a series of conflicts between the New Zealand settlers’ government and the native tribes, in 1864. The Lake was formed in the year 1947 by damming the water in the river in order to reserve water for the 96-megawatt, hydroelectric Karapiro Power Station located nearby, which is still operating today.
New Zealand is one of the world’s top holiday tourist destinations, meaning there is plenty to do at Lake Karapiro. Lake Karapiro is popular for jet skiing, water skiing, yachting, swimming, and other water sports. It is also a good place for archery, high and low ropes courses, and photographing the picturesque, scenic views. Lake Karapiro is considered one of New Zealand’s best rowing venues and is the sight of many national and international rowing competitions. This makes Lake Karapiro an ideal and popular rowing site for tourists. Lake Karapiro is also used in many other athletic competitions, including triathlons and long distance swimming races. In short, there are plenty of fun activities to do to make your stay at Lake Karapiro active and enjoyable.
Lake Karapiro can get crowded with tourists during the summer and winter holiday travel seasons, so if you are planning a trip to Lake Karapiro, aim for a weekend in early fall or late spring. Since New Zealand is on the Southern Hemisphere, if you are living on the Northern Hemisphere, that would mean you should go early spring or late fall. Once you’ve booked your trip, you should pack your swimsuit and any water sports equipment you think you need (although visitors’ centres and other tourist-centred shops located around the lake will offer these as well for small prices), plenty of sunscreen and bug spray, and anything else you think you might need as if you were planning a weekend trip to a lake or beach back home.