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The South Island of New Zealand is home to many magnificent lakes, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Ohau, Lake Pukaki and Lake Wanaka. Just a quick 15-minute drive from Lake Wanaka is one lake that is often forgotten. That’s Lake Hawea. That is unless you are on route to the West Coast and glaciers, in which case you will get to drive right by, and should consider stopping!
Lake Hawea is certainly an impressive sight, with a steep mountain range as its backdrop. It has clear, cold, blue water, making a stroll lakeside picture perfect. On a calm day there is nothing better than sitting lakeside with an ice cream, dinner, or taking a dip if you dare! The beach is the ideal spot to escape the crowd, as it is surprisingly often uncrowded.
The lakeside trail makes for the perfect place to get out and stretch the legs. Starting from just in front of the pub and running all the way along the lakefront to Johns Creek, it provides stunning scenery and excellent photo spots. You can park at any of the lake front reserves and pick up the trail, or perhaps even park at the pub and earn your lunch for your return!
The town of Hawea offers a couple of different spots to stop for a night, a meal, a drink or even an ice cream. The Hawea Pub offers an extensive menu from dine in to takeaways. I recommend taking a break and dining in, as the dining area looks right over the lake and makes the perfect place to shelter if there is gusty wind. They also offer a range of motel rooms, providing that same stunning view.
Along the road just a little further you will find the General Store and Sails Café. The store has everything and anything you might need, as well as giant cone ice creams – my favourite is cookies and cream double scoop! Upstairs at Sailz is another excellent place to dine, great views with great food to match.
The lakeside also provides home to the Hawea camping ground (just off state highway 6, near the turn off). Nestled among established trees with plenty of nooks and crannies for a tent, the camp area provides 100’s with campsites over the summer holidays season.
So whatever your situation is, Lake Hawea has something for everyone – even if it is just an ice cream and quick photo! Don’t miss out.
About NZ Snow Tours:
NZ Snow Tours run small group personalised snow tours based out in the Southern Lakes of New Zealand. With small groups, expert guides and real local knowledge, we would love to host you for your winter holiday in New Zealand.