If you're a fan of fishing and camping, then Lake Maraetai in the Waikato Region of New Zealand should be on your list of must-visit destinations. In this article, we'll take a closer look at this popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and share our experiences from a recent trip.
Upon arriving at Lake Maraetai, we were immediately struck by the unique atmosphere of the place. There was a strange feeling in the air, perhaps due to the green and dirty water that greeted us. Despite this initial observation, we were excited to explore the area and set up camp at one of the Freedom camping sites available.
We found a small campsite near a boat ramp, which was perfect for our plans to launch our boat and explore the lake the following morning. While the campsite was not as large as our previous stop in Whakamaru, it was still a bustling place with many motorhomes and campers around. However, the proximity to the water and the beautiful surroundings made it worth the stay.
One of the highlights of Lake Maraetai was the opportunity to catch trout. The lake is known for its deep waters, but there are also plenty of little headlands and bays to explore, which are ideal for fishing. We were eager to try our luck and set out early in the morning, despite the forecast of rain and wind later in the day.
We trolled along the lake edge, using a black and gold Toby lure, while waiting for the engine to warm up. The water was green and there were signs of algae, but we remained hopeful. We spotted a big brown trout feeding near the surface, and after a few attempts, we managed to hook it with a spinner. However, the trout proved to be elusive and eventually spat out the lure, leaving us empty-handed.
Undeterred, we moved to the other side of the lake, where we found some interesting side arms and structures. We spotted another trout, this time a rainbow, and after some effort, we finally caught it. It was a thrilling moment, and we released the fish back into the water after admiring its beauty.
Aside from fishing, Lake Maraetai also offers other amenities for campers. The nearby township of Mangakino is a short walk or drive from the campsite and has basic facilities such as a grocery store, cafes, and bakeries. We also checked out another Freedom camping area called Duck Island, just a few hundred meters down the gravel road. It had water access and a unique feature of a bus converted into a cafe, called The Bus Stop Cafe, where we enjoyed a tasty pizza.
Despite the unpredictable weather and the greenish water, our experience at Lake Maraetai was memorable. We appreciated the efforts of the Waikato District Council in providing well-maintained Freedom camping sites in the area, giving campers an affordable option to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
As we packed up our campsite and prepared to leave, we couldn't help but reflect on the beauty and serenity of Lake Maraetai. It may have had its quirks, such as the greenish water and elusive trout, but it was a unique and rewarding experience for us as fishing and camping enthusiasts. If you're looking for a new adventure in the Waikato Region, consider exploring Lake Maraetai and its surrounding camping spots for an unforgettable outdoor getaway.
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