Rotokawau Virginia Lake

Rotokawau Virginia Lake provides an historic lakeside setting where you can picnic or take a 25-minute woodland walk around the lake to see the statue of Tainui, a band rotunda, twin bridges, rose and wisteria pergolas and various wildfowl species such as white swans.

The name ‘Rotokawau’ refers to the native black shag (kawau), and you might glimpse these birds as they come to the lake to feed. Rotokawau Virginia Lake is listed as one of Whanganui’s premier parks.

The lake is home to the spectacular Higginbottom Fountain, installed in 1971, which is a copper and steel floating structure in the form of a lily. A 40-minute lighting display occurs every evening, coinciding with when the streetlights are switched on. The display can be activated at any other time by placing a gold coin into the slot. The fountain has 15 illuminated jets in amber, blue, green and red.

Adjacent to the lake is the Winter Garden, an Art Deco-era conservatory with colourful themed gardens.

Refreshments are available at the Funky Duck Café, next to the Winter Garden.

Beyond the café you’ll find a free flight aviary – open from 9.00am to 5.00pm every day – that allows visitors close up viewing of the birds. A fenced children’s playground and the Punchbowl amphitheatre and stage, used for community events such as Carols by Candlelight, are nearby.

Picnic tables, barbecues, drinking fountains and toilets are on-site.

Meet the Birds Trail at Rotokawau Virginia Lake(PDF, 3MB)



110 Great North Rd, St John's Hill 4500  View Map

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