Lake Tarawera, meaning 'Burnt Spear' is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand. The lake was home to many small Maori villages and mission settlements until the Tarawera eruption in 1886. Legend has it that a "waka wairua" (phantom canoe) appeared on the lake as a portent of death a few days prior to the eruption.
Lake Tarawera is a picturesque lake, famous for the size and condition of its rainbow trout. Several lakes in the area drain into it directly or via groundwater, along with geothermal springs on the southern and northern shores. Lake Tarawera is a deep lake; any water flowing in to it stays there for around 10 years.