Lake Aniwhenua Stray New Zealand

Kohutapu Lodge


3836 Galatea Road
Lake Aniwhenua
Murupara 3079


$89 - All-inclusive

As one of Stray's top rated experiences, a visit to Lake Aniwhenua has a sense of magic that simply can't be missed.

Kohutapu Lodge is a beautiful lakeside accommodation, but it's much more than that too! This unique Stray stop is an all-inclusive modern day cultural experience that is also helping to make a difference in the local community. 


The local area 

The local town of Murupara is one of New Zealand's most impoverished townships, facing significant economic and social challenges.  It's not a tourist destination. However it is a very real part of New Zealand. When Stray teamed up with Kohutapu Lodge in 2013, our shared goal was to change a town through tourism. 


The experience 

Our hosts at Kohutapu Lodge are a local Maori family. The experience starts with a traditional Maori greeting in the Kaingaroa Forest by a local guide (member of the Ngati Manawa Iwi). We are introduced to the tribal lands with a forest walk to a sacred archeological site where you will see the oldest recorded Maori rock carvings (carbon dated to 1050 AD), hear tales of battle and revenge, as well as stories of the water guardians (taniwhas) that protect the local people and the waterways.

As we make our way through Murupara township, we will learn about the people of the area, its history and challenges.

When we reach the beautiful lakeside lodge, we are warmly welcomed by our hosts and spend the afternoon learning about Maori customs, hearing stories of early settlement in New Zealand, trying out traditional activities like Mau Rakau (Maori stick games), flax weaving, learning the Haka and watching a traditional Hangi being prepared - which is later served for dinner! 

The following day we visit the local school for a cultural exchange and spend some time in the classroom with the children to help expand their thinking beyond the confines of Murupara.  We deliver packed lunches of leftover hangi to children who would otherwise go without.  We share stories about our respective cultures, countries and careers, which allows the kids to think of exciting possibilities for their futures.   

We have delivered more than 20,000 hangi meals to the Murupara community! 


  • Guided tour to a sacred archaeological site to view Maori rock carvings
  • Introduction to Murupara area, its history and challenges
  • Hangi cooking demonstration
  • Traditional Maori stick games
  • Storytelling around the fire (local myths and legends)
  • Traditional Hangi feast for dinner + dessert
  • 1 night’s accommodation in comfortable lodge cabins, bedding provided
  • Continental breakfast 
  • Participation in a local community program (only available during school term)


Optional Activities: 
  • Learn how to perform the Haka or try traditional Flax Weaving


Please note: The minimum number required to visit Lake Aniwhenua is 9 people. Groups that don't meet minimum numbers will stay in Taupo instead. If school is not in term, left over hangi is delivered to local elderly people in the community. 

Check out the videos...




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READ OUR BLOG: Together Stray & Kohutapu Lodge make a positive impact on local school

Stray and Kohutapu Lodge are making a positive contribution to the local area, supporting the local school and local conservation efforts.

Have a question or want to book? Get in touch with our team