There are a large number of lakes scattered across the northern part of the Waikato, including the three Huntly lakes. They are mainly vestiges of the wetlands that were drained for farmland once Europeans arrived. Most of them are not that attractive as they are shallow and have suffered from adjacent farming activity. Practices are improving but there is no quick fix. Other lakes are surrounded by private land and effectively inaccessible.
However, you can easily access two of these shallow lakes in Huntly – Hakanoa and Waahi. A third, Puketirini, is an old open cast coal mine and much deeper. There are walks and cycle trails around Hakanoa and Puketirini, but Hakanoa is probably the best option. It offers replanted native bush and trees, Japanese, Global, Wildlife, Palm Beach, and Contemporary Māori gardens. There is also a Green Cathedral and wetlands.
Lake Hakanoa is a short drive from the main road on the east side of the river. Best access is from Taihua Road. Waahi and Puketirini are next to each other on the west side of the river with best access from Weavers Crossing Road. It takes about a leisurely hour to walk around Hakanoa and Puketirini.