Lake Ngaroto, Te Awamutu

Lake Ngaroto is a 108-hectare peat lake with adjacent wetlands in the Waipa District, north-west of Te Awamutu and south-west of Ohaupo. The lake has a maximum depth of 4 metres and an average depth of 2 metres, lying only 33 metres above sea level.  A walking and cycling track almost 6 km long, with a large part of it being boardwalk, has been  constructed around the lake. The lake itself is only visible from the walkway in a few locations, with vegetation blocking the view for most of the distance. Boats with motors are not allowed on the lake, but there is a rowing club and a sailing club, each with club rooms at the edge of the lake. The lake is also used by duck shooters during the May-June shooting season.

There is a parking area with toilets at the end of Bank Road, off Ngaroto Road. Dogs are allowed on the walkway, but must be kept on a leash. For an anti-clockwise walk or cycle the track starts by the parking area at the southern end of the lake. For a clockwise walk (no cycling) the track starts further along the access road, by the sailing club buildings. For more details of the walk see the  Te Awamutu Online site. The site mentions that parts of the walk are through fields, with stiles to cross, but this is no longer correct.

Cycle riding is only permitted in an anti-clockwise direction, so to avoid being run over from behind the walk was done here in a clockwise direction. The track is almost completely level, with no steps and no steep gradients. However parts of the boardwalks may be tilted or uneven, depending on lake levels. Revegetation and restoration work is ongoing around the lake.

Looking towards the end of Bank Rd and Lake Ngaroto, with toilets on the far right, the carpark next to the rowing club buildings, and with the Ngaroto Sailing Club buildings on the far left.

The start of the track for an anti-clockwise walk or cycle at the southern end of the lake, next to the carpark.

Four poles with illustrations are located adjacent to the track start.

An information panel with track information and some lake history is also located by the track entrance.

There are several picnic areas in the reserve where the rowing and sailing club buildings are located.

The sailing club buildings, with the lake and reserve on the right.

Looking back along the reserve towards the carpark, with the sailing club buildings on the right.

The track entrance for a clockwise walk is located by the gate, between the old corrugated iron shed and the two parked vehicles.

The track entry, with the same information panel as at the southern entry.

Boardwalks with plastic anti-slip mesh are used for a large part of the walkway, where it crosses over wetland areas.

There are currently only a few areas with shade, although the revegetation efforts should result in more shade in coming years.

Pre-European Maori constructed island pa within the lake, with the lake providing some protection and also acting as a food source. The carving shown on the right is also depicted on the 4 poles at the southern track entrance.

A small bridge with a weir to control the lake water level underneath it crosses over one of the lake outlets. The lake level  has previously been higher than the one maintained currently.

The lake outlet drain.

Together with the weir there is also a fish ladder under the bridge. This allows fish to enter the lake, with preference given to native species over introduced pest species.

One of the locations where the lake is visible from the track. In the background distance are Mount Pirongia on the far right, and Kakepuku on the far left.

Kakepuku brought in a little closer.

And Mount Pirongia brought in closer from further along the track.

There are distance markers located each 500 metres along the track, showing the distance from each end of the track. The distances add up to 5.5 km. Here the distance walked from the sailing club entry is 4.5 km.

The boardwalk near the southern entry can be tilted. There are plastic pontoons holding up one side of the walk, causing the track to tilt when the water level rises or falls.

The GPS tracklog shows the route taken around the lake, starting from the parking area and walking in a clockwise direction. The distance walked was 5.9 km, for a total time of 1 hour 10 minutes, including time to take photos and read the information panels. There were numerous other walkers on the track, including families with young children, as well as a few cyclists, but no canoes or other boats visible on the water.

The aerial photo, from Google Maps, shows the same area as the GPS map.

The track was walked on December 30, 2018.

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