Start planning your lake vacation in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most untouched, unspoiled, and uncrowded countries on earth. Boasting breathtaking landscapes, numerous pockets of hidden rainforest, and unique wildlife. Owing to its varied topography, the country has some magnificent lakes spread out throughout the nation. Lakes in New Zealand range from the cool, clear waters of the South Island to the enormous lakes of the North Island.
What makes New Zealand's lakes so special?
New Zealand’s lakes are among the most spectacular in the world. Most of the lakes are located in striking, mountainous areas with beautiful peaks and picturesque scenery. Some are small but spectacular, while others are huge, with numerous attractions on their shores.
The best lakes in New Zealand to visit
With so many to choose from, we’ve whittled it down to these best lakes in New Zealand.
The vistas around Lake Taupo are marvellous, from the lonely, stone church to snow-capped mountains in the distance. This magnificent lake is world-famous for its trout fishing, so grab a rod and hook your dinner. It also has lots of geothermal activity underground, so hot pools make for great bathing spots. The absolute highlight, though, is Huka Falls, which sits north of the lake on the Waikato River.
Lake Wairarapa is just 30 miles outside Wellington and is the third-largest lake on New Zealand’s North Island. The scenery surrounding the lake comprises farmland and low-lying swamps, and the region is particularly beautiful in autumn when lovely fiery colors come out on the trees and among the grasses.
Lake Te Anau
Lake Te Anau is bordered by the mountains of the Fiordland National Park and is the largest lake on the South Island. Te Anau is also regarded as "the walking capital of the world", so don your boots and get outdoors where you can find divine scenic strolls.
For the ultimate nature tour, visit Lake Matheson, where the water is so still and clear it creates an extraordinary reflection of New Zealand's highest peaks, Mount Tasman and Mount Cook. Formed approximately 14,000 years ago, this lake is a peaceful site, and it’s home to abundant wildlife in its thick forests, easily spotted from the walking trails. This is a nature lover's paradise.
Also known as Blue Lake, Tikitapu is a favorite for water-sports fans and picnickers. You can enjoy the simple walking trails around the water’s edge, sunbathe on the beautiful beaches, or investigate some of the interesting native flora that thrives here.
Tips for visiting New Zealand lakes
Plan your visit to New Zealand's lakes according to the seasons. If you want to explore the lakes in warm, dry weather, visit during the summer (December to February). Winter months are best for those who want to get a glimpse of the country’s best lakeside skiing destinations.