Boulders "bigger than a car" have fallen during a landslide at Lake Okataina.
Lakes Lodge Okataina owner Nick Berryman said he saw and heard the landslide about 8.15am yesterday, during the strongest of a swarm of earthquakes that hit the region.
More than 68 shakes were recorded during the swarm of earthquakes yesterday morning.
The largest, at 8.12am, measured 4.9 on the Richter Scale and struck at a depth of 5km, 20km east of Rotorua.
"It was a huge [landslide]," Berryman said.
"We heard it come down and saw all the dust. You could hear the rumbling and then see the dust as it was coming off the hill."
He said the earthquakes were felt strongly in the area, causing some damage to items inside his home and at the lodge.
"We were up at home and everything was going nuts in the house - glasses and plates and bottles went flying. A big dresser fell over, it was very dramatic, a big one for sure.
"In the kitchen at the lodge there were plates glasses, bottles, wines and spirits all knocked over."
Berryman said the walkway currently blocked by the landslide is used in the Tarawera Ultramarathon which is scheduled for February 13.
"They'll have to get in and detour the track, it will have to divert because there are some pretty big boulders in the way."
Rotorua's Sarah Pearson was paddleboarding on Lake Okataina during the afternoon when she came across the landslide.
"Literally just as I got round the corner you could see this huge slip," she said.
"When I got back to shore you could see the walkway was completely obstructed."
Pearson believed the landslide happened during the swarm of earthquakes felt throughout the Bay of Plenty yesterday.
"It definitely happened yesterday morning. There are a few slips around there from last year but this one was quite big and fresh - the rocks were bigger than my car.
"It would've been awesome to see, it makes you realise we're quite miniscule in the greater scheme of things.
"Some of the people that were out there when it happened said the noise was incredible."
An Emery Store and Takeaways one employee said it was "certainly a strong shake".
"I was standing out the front and it was really strong - like a big truck rolling past but it didn't stop," she said.
"It gave us quite a fright. We had oil jumping out of the vats and a couple of cracks in the wall so we had to identify the risks and make sure everything was safe. It's back to normal today though."
She said the earthquakes were a hot topic with customers all afternoon and some had come down to the store just to check everything was okay there.
GNS Science landslide duty officer Jon Carey said earthquake swarms could generate landslides, particularly when strong ground shaking happened in locations with already-unstable slopes.
"The ground shaking during the current swarm is not significant enough to generate major landslides. However, it is possible that some smaller, more localised slips could have occurred from marginally stable slopes."
An Earthquake Commission spokesperson said 21 home owners had lodged a claim with EQC as a result of Monday's earthquake sequence.
Of those, one was from Kawerau, one from Tauranga City, three from Western bay of Plenty and 16 from the Rotorua District.