9 x Most Beautiful Lakes in New Zealand

Last Updated On July 26, 2022

New Zealand, located in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia, comprises two main islands and is noted for its towering mountains and magnificent natural landscape. Much of the land on the islands is preserved as a national park, especially on the South Island, where four national parks run parallel to each other along the western coast of the Tasman Sea.

Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

According to most estimates, New Zealand contains over 800 lakes, the bulk of which were produced millennia ago by glacial action and are now surrounded by massive mountains and a diverse ecosystem that is all tremendously picturesque.

1. Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki, another glacial feature of New Zealand, has a striking blue tint caused by glacial erosion. The Tasman and Hooker Glaciers deposit these sediments into the lake. Pukaki Lake, with Mount Cook majestically in the background, is one not to be missed, its rocky shoreline producing a contrast of colors found nowhere else in the earth.

2. Lake Manapouri

Lake Manapouri is encircled by the high Cathedral Mountains and is sprinkled with 33 tiny islands. In the 1950s, a dam was proposed to construct endangered to drown the lake, but it was rescued as part of one of New Zealand's first environmental efforts. Currently, an underground power station at the west arm is operational, but the lake was spared. Despite being southwest of Te Anau, Lake Manapouri provides a different experience.

3. Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is so large that it is considered an inland sea rather than a lake. It is nearly the size of Singapore and formed in a caldera formed by a volcano explosion about 2000 years ago. Many beaches feature mild geothermal currents, and the numerous geysers, hot mud pools, and boiling craters bore witness to the lake's history. 

Visitors will be near the magnificent Huka Falls and the lakeside town of Taupo, which is a comfortable stopover with casual cafes and restaurants. This region offers several chances for adventure sports such as skiing, sailing, and kayaking. Those interested in culture can take a boat ride to Mine Bay to see the Maori rock carvings.

4. Lake Hawea

Lake Hawea is a rural and poorly populated South Island lake near Lake Wanaka. It couldn't be more magnificent, surrounded by towering mountains untouched by man that slope fast down to azure blue lakes.

This is an ideal halt on a South Island road trip between Wanaka and the Franz Josef Glacier to the north. There are a couple of swimming beaches as well as numerous photo opportunities.

5. Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is a picturesque lake in the center of the South Island and ranks fourth among New Zealand's largest lakes. Driving from Wanaka to Haast takes you along the upper half of the lake, giving you a sense of its past grandeur.

6. Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier, is one of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand. It's a nice area to walk after sunset before heading to the Matheson Cafe for supper and some local wine. On a bright day, the reflection in the lake boldly exhibits all the reasons to fall in love with New Zealand's Westland National Park region, while Mount Tasman and Mount Cook rise out of the mountain range. The trek around the lake takes about an hour and a half, and three viewing platforms provide spectacular views along the way.

7. Lake Ohau

Lake Ohau is another famous ski and snowboard location. It is located four hours south of Christchurch and two hours north of Queenstown, immediately beneath the Ohau ski field. It has stunning mirror reflections, Aoraki/Mt Cook views, beech forest walks, and protected shrub habitats. Access tracks along the lake's edge give demanding 4x4 driving routes as well as access to various backcountry cabins and scenic hiking trails. Our 'Manuka' excursion rests at Lake Ohau Lodge on the lake's banks.

8. Emerald Lakes

Emerald Lake is the only lake(s) on this list that isn't on the South Island. On the other hand, the Emerald Lakes is located in New Zealand's North Island along the famous Tongariro Crossing. The lakes are historic craters filled with melted snow and dissolved minerals, giving them their beautiful color.

9. Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations, nestled among some of the country's most magnificent panoramas. This lightning-shaped inland lake carves valleys carved out by glaciers from the surrounding mountains. Queenstown, known as "The Adventure Capital of the World," is located on the bend of a lightning bolt. Bask in the splendor of this region by boarding the legendary T.S.S Earnslaw or taking the Queenstown Scenic Tour.