Looking for a place to cool off on these hot Christchurch summer days?
Try Lake Roto Kohatu. This lake is situated in North West Christchurch in the Sawyers Arms Reserve and is a popular recreational area for water sports.
Roto Kohatu is made up of two lakes, Tahi and Rua. Tahi is the western lake and is leased to the Jetski club for their sole use. Rua is the eastern lake and is often used for dragon boating, sailing, fishing and swimming.
The Roto Kohatu Reserve is accessed off the end of Sawyers Arms Road. There is a carparking area but if the gate is open you can also continue driving up the gravel road, over a hill and then down to the lakes. It is about one kilometer to the lake (past the first Jetski lake). You are not able to drive in a complete circle around the lake as there is a barrier at the main swimming area at the very end of the road but you can access this main swimming area from either side of the lake.
It doesn’t have typical sandy lake shores but does have multiple little ‘bays’ where you can find some shallow areas for kids to splash around in, and some little wooden jetties which you can jump off into deeper water. There is a rope swing for the adventurous and for the athletic it seems a popular place to swim ‘laps’ across the lake.
Roto Kohatu is a man-made lake. It was once a quarry and was filled in and repurposed as a recreational reserve. Roto Kohatu meets water quality standards and is tested regularly over the summer months.
We took Fish and Chips for dinner and walked alongside the lake until we found a quieter spot to eat our dinner and dip our feet in the water.
We went on a very hot Friday night and found there were a lot of boy racers hooning around the lake roads kicking up a lot of dust. There were also several groups of young adults playing loud music and drinking and we noticed a lot of rubbish scattered about. I didn’t see any rubbish bins around.
There were several young families with little children enjoying splashing and swimming in the lake so we didn’t feel entirely out of place!
I also noticed the noise from Jetskis on the other lake and a few planes flying overhead so between them and the boy racers it wasn’t exactly peaceful but that could have been mainly due to the fact we went on a Friday evening.
Don’t make the mistake we did while exploring the area; we took a road going along the back side of lake Tahi and reached a locked gate. There was no way to turn around so we had to reverse all the way back to the fork in the road taking care not to reverse into a ditch on one side or the lake on the other!
It was pleasant although not peaceful and nice if you’d prefer a fresh-water dip to an ocean splash!