Rivers and lakes

We have a number of lakes, with some of these managed by the Waikato District Council or the Department of Conservation. Rivers also run through the district, the largest of these is the Waikato River. 

The Waikato River

The Waikato River runs through the Waikato district and can be used for recreational activities, such as kayaking, waka ama, and rowing.

Lakes within the Waikato district

The Waikato district contains a number of lakes. Some of these lakes are managed by Waikato District Council, others are managed by the Department of Conservation or are under private ownership.

Horsham Downs and Rotokauri

The Waikato District Council manages Lake Kainui and Lake Rotokauri, which are peat lakes. These peat lakes provide recreational opportunities and also have important ecological values.

  • Lake Kainui is located in Horsham Downs and is available for fishing, hunting, and some on-water recreational activities. Access key is $120.00 per season (October-May) - $21.00 refundable on return of key.
  • Lake Rotokauri is a popular venue for walking and other passive activities, such as picnicking. Lake Rotokauri brochure


Huntly contains three Council managed lakes, which can be used for recreational activities.

  • Lake Puketirini is a newly formed lake that has been developed from a disused coal-mined pit, and is now part of Puketirini, a Waikato District Council owned park. Lake Puketirini is available for activities such as kayaking, waka ama, boating, and water-skiing. Walking and cycling around the lake are also popular recreational activities. This lake has very good water quality. Recreational boating - access key $100.00 per season (October-May) - $21.00 refundable on return of key.
  • Lake Waahi is popular for boating activities and picnicking.
  • Lake Hakanoa is often used for coarse fishing and walking.

Access and other information

To access Lake Kainui and Lake Puketirini for boating activities please contact Waikato District Council. These two lakes are open for boat use but are subject to a key system.

Jet skiing is prohibited on all Council lakes, except where temporary exemption has been granted.

For information regarding fishing and hunting at Lake Kainui please contact the Hamilton Fish and Game Association or contact us.