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21 Mind Blowing Lakes in New Zealand

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What’s that sound?

It’s the sound of your mind blowing as you just feasted your eyes on a majestic New Zealand lake. That might sound like a bit of an overkill, but you’ll definitely understand once you stand by the shore of one of New Zealand’s 3,820 lakes.

Lakes are a prominent feature that adds to the famous New Zealand scenery. In fact, New Zealand is full of stunning lakes so there are plenty to see while on a backpacking trip. See brilliantly blue lakes caused by glacial melt, some of the clearest lakes there is, and sharp reflections in mirror lakes.

So until you get to see them all, just start dreaming by looking at these beautiful lake pictures.

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1. Emerald Lake

Rewarding in its beauty and the fact that it is a trek to get there, the Emerald Lake is near the summit of Mt Tongariro which was the setting for Mordor in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. It can be seen while tramping the Tongariro Crossing. Find out how to get there with our Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Location: Tongariro National Park, North Island Tourism NZ

2. Lake Quill

One of the many stunning aspects of Fiordland National Park, Lake Quill funnels into the famous Sutherland Falls. Hike to the lake or get the full picture with a scenic flight over Milford Sound.

Location: Fiordland National Park, South Island  swifant

3. Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, so large, in fact, that it is the size of Singapore. Check out New Zealand’s largest lakes in our article.

Location: Taupo, North Island Destination Great Lake Taupo

4. Lake Matheson

Otherwise known as the “Mirror Lake”. We are still trying to figure out why… Enjoy this lake on the Lake Matheson Loop Track just outside the Fox Glacier township. Find out more in Glacier Country – Guide for Backpackers.

Location: West Coast, South Island BackpackerGuide.NZ

5. Lake Tekapo

Located in the Canterbury region on the South Island, Lake Tekapo is a hub for hydroelectricity and a site for stargazing. Check out what there is to do in Lake Tekapo in our Lake Tekapo – Guide for Backpackers.

Location: Tekapo, South Island Tourism NZ

6. Blue Lake

The water is so clear in this Nelson Lakes National Park lake that it has been reported to have a visibility of up to 80m! It’s a multi-day hike to get there, but the journey is worth it to see the clear lake with your own eyes.

Locations: Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island Squashem

7. Lake Mapourika

Lake Mapourika is a product of the Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast. It’s dark water produced by the tannins washed in the surrounding forests gives it its super reflective surface.

Location: West Coast, South Island BackpackerGuide.NZ

8. Lake Wanaka

This lake is especially characterised by the Wanaka Tree that emerges alone from the water. Find out some awesome things to do in Wanaka in Wanaka – Guide for Backpackers.

Location: Wanaka, South Island Pixabay

9. Lake Rotorua

In the town full of geothermal activity, Rotorua has the North Island’s second largest lake. The water fills the crater of a large ancient volcano.

Location: Rotorua, North Island Tourism NZ

10. Lake Wakatipu

By being the lake that the “Adventure Capital of the World” is built around, Lake Wakatipu is excessively used for water adrenalin activities. It sets a beautiful scene for Queenstown.

Location: Queenstown, South Island Tourism NZ

11. Lake Hawea

Not a natural beauty of New Zealand, as it has been artificially raised, yet it is still easy on the eyes.

Location: Otago, South Island Yogi de at en.wikipedia

12. Lake Rotoiti

This easy-to-access lake is the most popular in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Check out the eels under the jetty and of course, a jetty jump photo is absolutely mandatory! Find out more about the Nelson Lakes National Park in Nelson Lakes National Park – Guide for Backpackers.

Location: Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

13. Lake Pukaiki

With a stunning Southern Alps backdrop behind a brilliant blue lake, Lake Pukaiki has to be one of the most stunning lakes in New Zealand. The drive along Lake Pukaiki to Aoraki My Cook Village will give you some of the best views.

Location: Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, South Island
Tourism NZ

14. Lake Alexandrina

A great spot for fishing, Lake Alexandrina is one of the quieter lakes in New Zealand. Find it in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Tourism NZ

15. Lake Waikaremoana

This huge lake is sacred to the local Moari people with lots of legends surrounding it. Another thing that surrounds it is the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. Beneath its surface lies a petrified forest created by the lake rising due to an earthquake some 2,000 years ago. Find out more in Te Urewera – Guide for Backpackers and 17 Stunning Lake Waikaremoana Walks.

Location: Te Urewera, North Island
Tourism NZ

16. kai Iwi Lakes

These pristine lakes in the Northland region of New Zealand are crystal clear and a great place for fishing and relaxing. Park up at the campgrounds and enjoy a night in this paradise.

Location: Northland, North Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

17. Lake Rotopounamu

Tucked away in the native forests of the Tongariro National Park, Lake Rotopounamu is a tranquil lake and a great place to spot some of New Zealand’s native birds. A loop track takes you around the perimeter of the lake. Find out more in Tongariro National Park – Guide for Backpackers

Location: Tongariro National Park, North Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

18. Tasman Glacier Lake

See this epic Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake from kayak, boat or by scenic flight. The mesmerising vibrant lake is a must-see in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park!

Location: Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, South Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

19. Lake Hauroko

This gem in the Fiordland National Park is the start of several jet boat trips going into the wild and wonderful Fiordland National Park. There are several walks around the area to really experience the beauty of this place.

Location: Fiordland National Park, South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

20. Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau is the start of many adventures in the Fiordland National Park. Take a boat trip across the lake to the glowworm caves or take a water taxi to one of the 5 Incredible Multi-day Hikes in the Fiordland National Park.

Location: Southland, South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

21. Lake Brunner

Lake Brunner is the central point to some awesome 10 Hikes Around Lake Brunner. Take a boat trip out on the lake or hike in its surrounding stands of ancient forest.

Location: West Coast, South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

More stunning sights in New Zealand.

With great lakes comes great lake activities. Check out the water sport activities that can be done in New Zealand, such as 5 Places to go Sailing and  7 Places to Jet Boat. Then check these articles:

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