One of the best kept secrets of the Central North Island is the Lost Lagoon of Kuratau. Although it turns out, it’s as much of a secret as I first thought. Located at the southern end of the lake, a short distance from the town of Kuratau. The picturesque Lagoon is set amongst native New Zealand forest, full of birdlife including the rarely seen Kereru.
Previously I had only heard about this lagoon through the grapevine, people always seem to know about it, but no one I had talked to had actually ever been let alone know the location. ‘Just down the south of the lake somewhere’ was the yarn. I had seen a couple of photo on Social Media here and there but only recently decided to really start looking into it.
Being the middle of summer I thought it was well overdue to firstly do a bit of research into where this lagoon is located, and secondly, get out and find it.
The research side of things was a little weird. There was next to zero information when I searched google, anything I found was just directing me back to the lagoon in the Pureora Forest or the Champagne Pools in Wai-o-tapu. It wasn’t unit I searched #kuratau on Instagram that I started to see some consistent images.
Clearly not being the only one to be searching for the location, every photo on Instagram had a comment from people like me, asking for the location. People didn’t want to give a few simple directions, just vague comments as to the general area.
With the information I had, I crossed referenced with google earth and found a ‘lagoon’ looking image in the area. I thought that had to be it and set out the next day to locate it.
The ‘NOT SO LOST LAGOON’
I set off with a group of friends in anticipation to find this mysterious place and had a vision in my mind of having the Lagoon all to ourselves. How wrong we were!
Making away down a gravel road we were surprised to see a car park looking area that was housing 6 other cars. One of which had a group of 5 people all with towels and swimwear on, clearly just came from the Lagoon.
Not A Secret After All
We were all so surprised, to not only see other people here but A LOT of other people here. We jumped out of the car and made our way along the short walking track to where the Kuratau Lagoon was located, which is only a 5min, easy walk.
Again, to our surprise, well not really after seeing all the cars. The lagoon was packed full of people. From young kids, right up to people old enough to be their grandparents. The vibes were amazing! There were people from all over New Zealand, a classic kiwi summer day. Everyone out enjoying themselves with family and friends.
The ‘Lost’ Lagoon of Kuratau
The lost Lagoon of Kuratau itself is a beautiful spring that has to be some of the clearest water in the country. It’s the size of a couple of swimming pools and absolutely freezing, even in the heat of a summer’s day! Going in for a casual swim is brave, I swam in to get some GoPro footage and only lasted a couple of minutes before my body went numb.
The better alternative is to jump off the rocks, the lagoon is deep enough that you do not touch the bottom, but please check first and do so at your own risk. You can climb around to the right-hand side where you can either jump off something a couple of meters high or scale your way around further for a bigger jump.
To get to this area will take some keen climbing skills. Getting around one particular area, so do so with caution, but in my opinion, it’s well worth it such a thrill.
We stayed here for a couple of hours and to our surprise, people kept coming and going. In the time we were there 20 – 30 people would have come and gone, we couldn’t believe it!
So where is it located?
If you intend to go here please respect it, keep it clean and don’t abuse this beautiful location I’ve shared with you!!
The lagoon itself is about 15 minutes drive from the lakeside town of Kuratau. Kuratau is located on the South West side of Lake Taupo, about 15 minutes drive from Turangi and an hours drive from Taupo town.
You do not need to go into Kuratau itself to access the lagoon, but I would recommend checking it out while you are in the area. It’s a holiday town that is bustling in the summer months but can be very dormant in the winter. It has an epic little beach accompanied by a unique river mouth.
From Kuratau you need to get into State Highway 32 (Western Bay Road) and turn down Kuratau Hydro road. From there follow your nose until the end. You will get to a 90-degree corner that forms itself into Whareroa Road, DO NOT turn left keep going straight.
On your left, there will be a danger sign with all the risks associated with the area (enter at your own risk of course). From there you will wind your way down a gravel road, through some forest and hydro pipes until you see a grass clearing on your left which is the car park. If you come to the hydro building itself you have gone about 100 metres to far.
The Lagoon, is the perfect place to hang out for a couple hours on a hot summer’s day, even if you don’t want to jump in, the scenery is still well worth the adventure to check it out.
Once more, if you do end up going please respect it, keep it clean and don’t abuse this beautiful location I’ve shared with you!