Hike through the forest, go kayaking, set up camp on the lakeshore or dip into the clear waters for a swim in this scenic triple-lake nature reserve.
Formed approximately 1.8 million years ago, the three pristine lakes that make up Kai Iwi Lakes are an attractive natural wonderland today, ideal for watersports, swimming and hiking. The adjoining campgrounds also make a great base for exploring the nearby beaches or forests of the remote Northland region.
Lake Taharoa, Lake Waikare and Lake Kai Iwi are part of a 1,329-acre (538-hectare) recreation reserve called the Taharoa Domain.
Marvel at the clarity of the water, which is highlighted by the white sands beneath. Jump in for a refreshing swim, enjoying the gradual temperature change from the warmer waters in the shallows to the cooler streams deeper down and farther out. The shallower, calmer waters closest to shore are ideal for kids to splash around in.
The sheer size of the lakes means boating and rowing is permitted, with designated zones for different watersports to keep everyone happy. Lake Taharoa allows for motor boats while the smaller Lake Waikare and Lake Kai Iwi allow only non-motorized craft for a more natural and peaceful experience. Whether you try water skiing or kayaking, you’ll love the adventure.
Follow the walking tracks and mountain bike trails that thread through the pine trees surrounding the lakes. There are tracks allowing you to take in all three lakes and if you are moderately fit, it would take 2-3 hours to complete this loop. Venture a bit farther out to the nearby Tasman Sea. This 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) walk takes you across neighboring farmland to a quiet, beautiful beach.
Make the most of your visit to Kai Iwi Lakes by spending a couple of nights camped out under the stars on the shores of Lake Taharoa. Choose the Pine Beach campground for its facilities or head to Promenade Point for a more basic and natural camping experience. Tents, vans, motorhomes and caravans are all welcome.
Kai Iwi Lakes is situated 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Dargaville. Day visitors enter free of charge with fees applying only to overnight campers.