The South Island of New Zealand, in particular, offers awe-inspiring vistas of snow-capped mountains and turquoise blue lakes, which are truly sights to behold.
Of the many beautiful lakes in the South Island, here are 7 of the most stunning:
The Remarkables Mountain Range towers above the lake at the southern end, facing Queenstown itself. Lake Wakatipu has 3 towns on its banks: Queenstown, Glenorchy and Kingston. Lake Wakatipu offers an awe-inspiring view, and it is no wonder that people from all over the world would flock to Queenstown.
On the southern end of Lake Tekapo is the township of Lake Tekapo. It’s a popular tourist destination, as the lake is truly worth seeing. In the township proper is an old stone church called Church of the Good Shepherd, which offers a fantastic view of the lake, and has become a favourite place for weddings and photo shoots.
Lake Tekapo is also where you will find the Mount Johns Observatory. This scientific institution offers star gazing activities at night, and is also a great place to see Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) on a nice clear evening during the winter time.
On the southern edge of the lake is the town of Wanaka, which is fast becoming the next Queenstown, with more people opting for a quieter and more laid-back atmosphere than its neighbor. Those who find Queenstown too touristy generally make the 2-hour drive to enjoy what looks like a mirror image of Queenstown, sans the crowds.
The lake itself is accessible from the township of Fox Glacier on the West Coast, and is a 15 minute drive from the town proper. Though the lake can offer that great stunning postcard-perfect view, it can be very tricky to get that particular setup. The rainy West Coast weather makes it challenging to enjoy this grand view at just any day. However, if you can wait for it, it is absolutely breathtaking.
The turquoise blue water is attributed to a type of glacial sediment and gives the lake its very distinctive feature. The unique thing about this lake is that it offers a good viewpoint of Mount Cook on a nice clear day, and has that postcard-perfect photo of the mountain and the lake. Lake Pukaki doesn’t have any towns on its banks, but can be found on the inland route between Christchurch and Queenstown, and to Mount Cook village itself.
Lake Te Anau
The town of Te Anau, along with the small settlement of Te Anau Downs, are the only inhabited areas around the lake. The maximum depth of the lake is 417 metres, and you can tell how deep it is by the dark colour of the water in the middle. The enormity of the lake and its location being surrounded by almost-perennially snow-capped mountains makes it stunning.
- Read The ABCs of Traveling in New Zealand
- Read A Case for Car Camping in New Zealand
- Read Independent Travel Nirvana: New Zealand
- Read New Zealand Indie Travel Guide