The lake was formed from the crater of a large volcano in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Its last major eruption was about 240,000 years ago. After the eruption, the magma chamber underneath the volcano collapsed. The circular depression left behind is the Rotorua Caldera, which is the site of the lake. Several other lakes of volcanic origin are located nearby to the east, around the base of the active volcano Mount Tarawera.
Lake Rotorua is the second largest lake in the North Island of New Zealand by surface area, and covers 79.8 km2. With a mean depth of only 10 metres it is considerably smaller than nearby Lake Tarawera in terms of volume of water. It is located in the Bay of Plenty region. The city of Rotorua is sited on its southern shore, and the town of Ngongotaha is at the western edge of the lake.
Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua from which the city takes its name, located in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is the seat of the Rotorua District, a territorial authority encompassing Rotorua and several other nearby towns.