New Zealand's 10 Most Scenic Lakes

New Zealand is home to some of the world's most visually pleasing sights and scenes. The lakes here are no exception, with one appearing around almost every corner.

The contrasts between New Zealand's lakes are remarkable, with not two the same and each unique in their own way.

Some of New Zealand's most scenic lakes include:

1. Rotorua Blue and Green Lakes

The blue and green lakes of Rotorua are comprised of Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi. Both are incredibly beautiful and are stunningly nestled among steep, green hills.

The clear blue waters of Tikitapu are popular with boaties, swimmers and water skiers, while bush walking is a popular option for those wishing to absorb the beauty of the green waters of Lake Rotokakahi.

2. Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is New Zealand's biggest lake and is famous for its world class trout fishing. Situated on the North Island, Taupo is a popular tourist destination and offers fantastic activities, accompanied with incredible scenery.

The lake is also known for its close proximity to a unique volcanic zone. In fact, the lake itself was created by a supervolcanic eruption that occurred approximately 26,500 years ago. What has resulted is a glorious lake that is easy on the eye and a charming draw card for the Taupo region.

3. Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is positioned in a virtually untouched world of beauty and intrigue. Nestled in the highlands of New Zealand's South Island, Lake Tekapo is surrounded by stunning golden grass fields and is the ideal destination for nature adventurers.

Protected by the Southern Alps to the west and the Two Thumb Range in the east, Taupo is surrounded by remarkable natural scenery, with its cool blue waters creating the idyllic setting for a romantic weekend away for two.

4. Lake Pukaki

A neighbour to the unforgettable Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki is another of the Mackenzie Basin's finest examples of Mother Nature. The distinctive blue colour of this lake will simply take your breath away and bringing the camera along is a must.

5. Lake Hawea

Offering a remarkable lake and mountain setting, Hawea is without a doubt one of New Zealand's most pristine lakes. Situated just a short drive away from Wanaka, Queenstown, this divine lake is surrounded by snow capped mountains and offers incredible scenery all year round.

The lake itself is 35 kilometres long and is popular for kayaking, boating, water skiing, and trout and salmon fishing.

6. Lake Manapouri

Lake Manapouri is often described as the loveliest of all the lakes as it is home to an array of 33 small islands and is nestled below the majestic Cathedral Mountain Range.

Also known as the departure point for Doubtful Sound excursions, Lake Manapouri's close proximity to the wonders of the Fiordland National Park makes it a lake that simply cannot be missed.

7. Lake Wakatipu

Known as New Zealand's longest lake, at 80 kilometres in length, Lake Wakatipu is situated in the Otago region of the South Island.

The view from Queenstown heights is a particularly beautiful one, highlighting the spectacle of the surrounding mountains and offering uninterrupted exposure to the magical colour of the lake's waters.

8. Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau is another of the Fiordland's most remarkable lakes, and is characterised by its serene deep waters and its surroundings of lush virgin forest.

Te Anau has also earned the title of Walking Capital of the World and is the departure point for some of the country's best walking tracks, that each offer unsurpassed views of this awe-inspiring lake.

9. Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is also situated in the Otago region of the South Island and boasts the same beauty that Lake Wakatipu is known for. While it is New Zealand's fourth largest lake, it is not its size that will blow you away; it is its exquisite attractiveness and intrigue.

The lake is home to numerous small islands which add to its appeal, while several small townships are also a focal point of the region.

10. Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson is easily one of New Zealand's greatest scenic icons and is positioned within a close proximity to the remarkable Fox Glacier.

It is ideally positioned at the foot of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, and these reflections create a glorious mirror image on the lake's surface on a still, clear day.

Definitely a sight not to miss!

Christine Barton


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