The name "Rotoiti" means "The little lake" in Maori. The naming of the lake is credited to the Maori explorer Ihenga, who is also said to have discovered Lake Rotorua.
Legend says that the lake was named as such because when Ihenga first saw it, he was only able to see a small part of it and so thought the lake was a lot smaller.
Lake Rotoiti was formed over 8500 years ago and is really two lakes in one. The eastern section sits in the north of a volcanic depression – the Okataina Caldera - and has many hot sulphur springs. The western half sits in a drowned valley, Te Awa-i-Takapuwhaia, and was formerly an outlet for Lake Rotorua. The two lakes today share a navigatable outlet at Rotoiti’s western end.
Lake Rotoiti is a deep lake, 11km in length and is popular for water sports and trout fishing with natural hot pools to bathe in and secluded coves to explore. It is steeped with rich cultural history and fringed by dramatic cliffs. Among important cultural, historic and scenic sites around the lake are Okere Falls Scenic Reserve and Hinehopu/Hongi Track, the Lake Rotoiti and the Hinehopu Scenic Reserves all provide stunning scenic walks and great picnic spots to enjoy.