Framed by mountains, these glacier-carved lakes can be enjoyed from the water or by hiking shoreline tracks.
Excavated by massive glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, Lakes Wanaka and Hawea lie side by side. At a sliver of land known as The Neck, which is just 1000 metres wide, the glaciers were once joined.
Lake Wanaka is the source of New Zealand's largest river, the Clutha. Lake Hawea feeds into the Hawea River, which joins the Clutha at Albert Town.
Ringed by pebbly beaches and with magnificent views to the surrounding peaks, both lakes offer a variety of adventures, especially during the long, hot months of summer.
Walking tracks skirt the southern edge of Lake Wanaka. The walk up Mount Iron is a good choice if you're interested in geology. The mountain shows classic signs of glaciation - rounded on its upstream face and steep and craggy on the downstream side.
From Lake Hawea township you can find an excellent walk by following Timaru River Road to Timaru Creek, a picnic and camping area. The trail that begins here leads through a valley of beech forest until it flattens onto a braided river bed.