Lake Tikitapu (The Blue Lake)
If you're looking for a free activity to do, the Blue Lake walk has got to be one of the best short walks in Rotorua. It's just a short drive from town heading out past the Redwoods Forest on Tarawera Road. There's not much out there but it's a fantastic swimming lake and very popular for events and water sports over the summer months.
The walk is about 5.5km and takes between 1-1.5hrs to make your way around. Just park in the car parks opposite the camp ground and start walking to the end of the beach. You'll start on the road (going clockwise) and then duck down into the bush running alongside the lake. The track will take you to to the south side of the lake to a really nice secluded sandy beach. This is a great spot for a swim or to simply sit down and take in the views.
From there, you'll climb the stairs and head into the Whakarewarewa Forest (The Redwoods) and continue round the west side of the lake getting plenty of awesome peeks of the lake through the trees. You'll pop out on the far end of the beach where you can walk along the sand back to your vehicle.During the summer months, The Airstream Cafe might be open for a coffee or a meal and if not, the camp ground across the road has a good shop in the front office.
Don't forget to take a drink bottle, especially in the summer months and take your time and there's tons of photo opportunities all the way around.