The Best Lakes in New Zealand

New Zealand is a dream destination if you love lakes and freshwater recreation.

With 41 major lakes and over 4000 smaller lakes around the country, whether you like boating and trout fishing or glaciers and national parks, New Zealand has a great variety of fresh water recreation no matter where you are in the country.

Here's our pick of the best lakes in New Zealand.

Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rotoiti is a beautiful lake located only a 20-minute scenic drive out of the popular destination of Rotorua. The lake is famous for great trophy-sized trout fishing, a number of different world-class water sports activities, and the Rotoiti Hot Pools, a hidden gem that is only accessible by boat.

If you would like to experience the best of the lake, take a charter with Pure Cruise New Zealand. Pure Cruise operates luxury sailing eco-tours and yacht charters aboard its 52ft catamaran, the ‘Tiua’. Their local knowledge and professionalism will allow you to enjoy tranquil sailing and exciting recreational lake activities, as well as inform you of the historical and cultural significance of Lake Rotoiti and the surrounding area.

Lake Taupo

Located in the centre of New Zealand's North Island, the lake shares its name with the township that overlooks its expansive waters. The largest lake in New Zealand and Australasia, Lake Taupo is a crater lake that was created thousands of years ago in a violent volcanic eruption.

Due to its size the lake is very popular year-round with many different boating and sporting activities making use of its waters. Significant sights include the Huka Falls which are located just north of Lake Taupo up the Waikato river, which feeds the lake. Huka Falls is one of New Zealand's most visited natural attractions, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second. Another mentionable location to visit is the contemporary Māori rock carvings. Located on a cliff face at the southern end of the lake the carvings make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion as they can only be seen from the water.

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki is an alpine lake located in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. The lake is renowned for its spectacular pearl blue colouration that is created by the glacial rock from the disintegrating glaciers found at one end of the lake waters.

Lake Pukaki and its surrounding region is known for its remote rugged beauty, and was made famous by Sir Peter Jackson when he chose this part of the country as the setting in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The lake is also located within the world's largest Dark Sky Reserve, one of the best stargazing sites on Earth.

Lake Wakatipu

Bordered by the Remarkable Mountain Ranges the lightning bolt shaped lake is overlooked by Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. The lake is surrounded by forests filled with mountain biking tracks, internationally renowned ski fields and many other famous Queenstown activities.

Lake Wakatipu is also home to a New Zealand icon, the TSS Earnslaw, better known as the “lady of the lake”. In operation since 1912 the 51-metre (168ft) vintage paddle steamer is quite the sight, with a 12-metre (40ft) bright red chimney, gleaming white hull and original kauri timber decks.

Lake Hauroko

Lake Hauroko is one of the country's southernmost lakes and at 463 metres deep is also New Zealand's deepest lake and one of the world’s deepest. The lake is an important conservation estate lake as it lies within the Fiordland National Park.

The lake has only been accessible since the 1960s and because of its isolation is home to one of the purest native aquatic environments. The lake is now quite a popular destination for kayaking and jet boating. Lake Haoroko is also home to a multi-day tramping track from Lake Hauroko to Teal Bay Hut Track which traverses through the rugged New Zealand bush-clad hills and isolated terrain.

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