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Lake Wakatipu

A great location for water sports, New Zealand’s third-largest lake is an impressive natural landmark framed by soaring mountains and encircled by walking trails.

Lake Wakatipu is a lightning bolt-shaped lake set in the shadow of dramatic mountain peaks and alpine forests. The lake is the ideal setting for outdoor pursuits such as biking, fishing, kayaking and walking. Lake Wakatipu is 84 kilometres (52 miles) long and extends for 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) at its widest point. Māori legend states that the lake formed after a giant was burnt to death and thus scorched a huge hole by melting the ice of the nearby mountains.

Explore the lake via the scenic tracks that lead from the towns and villages spread around its shores. Several trails begin from Queenstown’s waterfront. Walk west along Lake Esplanade before continuing on the Sunshine Bay Walking Track. Follow the Queenstown Gardens Walk through the botanical flower displays of Queenstown Gardens. The Frankton Arm Walk skirts the banks of Frankton Arm and connects with the Kelvin Peninsula Walkway.

Take a break from walking to sit on the lakeshore and admire the striking mountains above you. Spot Cecil Peak, Mount Nicholas and The Remarkables range, which rise up above the southern side of the lake. Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill are among the peaks that loom over the northern side. Marvel as the mountains reflect in the crystal-clear water on sunny days.

Find sand and shingle beaches scattered around the lake. In summer, the beaches are popular places to relax in the long hours of sunshine and to swim in the cool, calm water. Play a round of golf with uninterrupted views at the Queenstown Golf Course, which is open year-round.

Discover the lake at your own pace with the use of a rented aqua bike, kayak, paddleboat or stand-up paddleboard. Join an exhilarating jet boat ride or fish for salmon on organised fishing excursions. Tours and rentals are available at Queenstown’s Main Pier and the in town of Glenorchy. Step aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamboat for a leisurely cruise on a century-old steamship.

Lake Wakatipu is accessible by foot directly from Queenstown’s town centre. Rent a bike or car and visit the lake’s other towns, including Glenorchy and Kingston.


Guide to Exploring Lake Wakatipu


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 1,129 properties near Lake Wakatipu
Heritage Queenstown £102
Heritage Queenstown

Heritage Queenstown

91 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located near the slopes, this Queenstown hotel is situated in the mountains, within 1 mile (2 km) of Steamer Wharf and Lake Wakatipu, and is convenient for winter sports, such as skiing lessons. Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens are also within 2 miles (3 km).

    Ramada Queenstown Central £78
    Ramada Queenstown Central

    Ramada Queenstown Central

    24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located near the slopes, this Queenstown hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Gardens, and is convenient for winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Skyline Gondola is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

      Wake up to the Chorus of Tuis and Bellbirds
      Wake up to the Chorus of Tuis and Bellbirds

      Wake up to the Chorus of Tuis and Bellbirds

      792B Glenorchy Road, Wilson Bay, Closeburn, Otago
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Closeburn, this apartment building is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 9 miles (15 km) of Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens. Crown Range and Steamer Wharf are also within 9 miles (15 km).

        Lakeside Bliss
        Lakeside Bliss

        Lakeside Bliss

        798 Glenorchy Road, Wilsons Bay, Closeburn, Otago
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Conveniently located near the ski slopes, this Closeburn holiday home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Skyline Gondola and Steamer Wharf. Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market and Queenstown Mall are also within 6 miles (10 km).

          Oaks Club Resort £95
          Oaks Club Resort

          Oaks Club Resort

          171-179 Frankton Road, Queenstown
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located near the slopes, this Queenstown apartment building is situated in the mountains and within 1 mile (2 km) of St Josephs Parish, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Gardens. Skyline Gondola is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) away.

            Novotel Queenstown Lakeside £99
            Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

            Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

            Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located near the slopes, this Queenstown hotel is situated in the mountains, within a 5-minute walk of Williams Cottage and Lake Wakatipu, and is convenient for winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Queenstown Gardens and Skyline Gondola are also within 10 minutes.

              Kamana Lakehouse £111
              Kamana Lakehouse

              Kamana Lakehouse

              139 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Conveniently located near the ski slopes, this Queenstown hotel is in the mountains, within 2 mi (3 km) of TSS Earnslaw Steamship and Queenstown Gardens, and close to winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Queenstown Hill and Skyline Gondola are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Chalet New Zermatt
                Chalet New Zermatt

                Chalet New Zermatt

                Lot 10 Forsetlines Rise, Closeburn, Otago
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Closeburn, this luxury chalet is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Lake Wakatipu and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Crown Range. Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens are also within 6 miles (10 km).