Walk status: Off-lead / On-lead
I've documented Lake Rotomanu on the blog before, but only as part of our New Plymouth holiday before we moved here. I'm amazed its taken me this long to dedicate a full blog post to it! It definitely deserves one, this place is not just one of our favourites, but also is a hive of activity on weekends with other fellow dog walkers.
Lake Rotomanu is the trifecta, it offers lake, river and beach swimming so is perfect for a hot day when your dog needs a cool off. Situated at the end of Clemow Road, you have a few options of where to start the walk. You can choose to drive right into the park if you wish, but not all areas are off-lead so I always tend to park next to the BMX track at the end of the road and enter there.
The entire right hand side of Lake Rotomanu is off-lead. Anywhere else, including the Coastal Walkway which is accessible from here, your dog must be on-lead.
Starting the walk from the end of Clemow Road opens up to a small grassy patch which is full of smells from other local doggies and if your dog is anything like George, it will take them a while to want to leave this little spot. Once you manage to coax them on, you start the walk with a small pathway leading through the bush. This soon forks in two directions - either straight ahead or to the left. Left takes you to the Lake lookout, but we'll come back that way so for the moment head straight ahead to continue on the pathway that runs alongside the river.
The pathway opens up to a large grassy area, although only mown to mark the pathways, but this gives doggies a chance to play in the long grass. Follow the pathway around to the right, continuing to have the river on your right, the lake will soon be in view on your left. You can choose to walk directly alongside the lake, or under the tree lined path. You get a great view of the lake the whole way, and on a good day you can usually see the ranges and Mt Taranaki. There are a couple of entry spots to the river too for your doggie to swim, or if they're confident in their jumping skills, the piers located on the lake allow for a belly flop or two.
Typically George and I will enter the river just next to the second carpark entrance, but sometimes families use this as their swimming spot so you may need to find an alternative.
If you're keen to make the walk a little longer, put your dog on lead at the carpark and walk the footpath to join the coastal walkway. Walking over the Te Rewa Rewa bridge, and down the hill, on the flat area of the walkway you'll soon spy to the left a gap in the fence line that leads up the sand dunes. This is a spot locals reference as Secrets Beach. It's not a great swimming spot due to the rocks, but it offers up a great spot for doggies to get sand between their toes and enjoy some new sights and smells - most times the only other people you'll bump into here are fellow dog walkers. You can walk the full beach to the right, or alternatively head left and get another chance for your dog to swim in the river. Just remember to check the tides as this area of beach isn't walkable at high tide.
Heading back the same way you came, across the bridge and back alongside the lake, once you reach the fork in the pathways, head towards the area marked with the lookout signs. This gives you a new perspective on the lake view and also another space for your dog to run around and throw a ball or two. The pathway back to the main track is near the orange sign, just watch your footing on this pathway as its usually just mud so can be slippery if the weather has been wet. This now brings you to the main path where you started and you can head right to return to where you parked.
Lake Rotomanu offers so many options to make your walk as long as you want - join the Coastal Walkway and walk for as far as your legs will carry you, explore the beach, or walk the full loop around the lake. Remember dogs are only allowed off-lead on the right hand side of the lake - all other areas are on-lead.
Location: End of Clemow Road, Fitzroy
Plenty of parking as there are 3 carparks in total, the first and second are the best for easy access for the off-lead area.
Things to know:
There are two sets of public toilets here - one located at the first carpark, and another located at the third carpark
You can join the Coastal Walkway here
Te Rewa Rewa bridge is an iconic New Plymouth attraction and worth visiting on a good day to get a shot of the mountain and bridge together