Lake Wakatipu

Vacation Travel Guide
Lake Wakatipu featuring mountains and a lake or waterhole

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.

Top Hotels Close to Lake Wakatipu

Ramada Queenstown Central
Ramada Queenstown Central
4 out of 5
24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is $82 per night from Dec 7 to Dec 7
Located near the slopes, this Queenstown City Centre hotel is in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Lake Wakatipu and Skyline Queenstown, and close to ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (418 reviews)
"Really enjoyed staying in a studio apartment here for my 5 day trip to QTown. Perfect room for a stay that long - having a washer and dryer makes things easier! Loved the bar and restaurant downstairs - great atmosphere and wonderful pizza. The hotel and restaurant staff were all really lovely. Definitely ..."

Reviewed on Nov 24, 2021

Ramada Queenstown Central
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Closeburn, Otago
Located in Closeburn, this family-friendly apartment building is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Lake Wakatipu, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Skyline Queenstown and CaddyShack ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (15 reviews)
Queenstown solitude
"In a busy place like Queenstown this home is a place of beauty and peace. Sitting on the porch watching all the birds was lovely. Monica and Grant were helpful and friendly. What a lovely place to spend a few days."

Reviewed on Feb 23, 2020

Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Lakeside Bliss
Lakeside Bliss
3.5 out of 5
798 Glenorchy Road, Wilsons Bay, Closeburn, Otago
Situated in Closeburn, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Skyline Queenstown and Crown Range. Steamer Wharf ...
Lakeside Bliss
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

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Best Lodging Options Near Lake Wakatipu

Ramada Queenstown Central
Ramada Queenstown Central
4 out of 5
24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is $82 per night from Dec 7 to Dec 7
Ramada Queenstown Central
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Closeburn, Otago
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Lakeside Bliss
Lakeside Bliss
3.5 out of 5
798 Glenorchy Road, Wilsons Bay, Closeburn, Otago
Lakeside Bliss
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
4 out of 5
Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
The price is $106 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 8
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
Closeburn, Otago
The price is $222 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 6
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
93 Beach Street, Queenstown, Otago
The price is $100 per night from Dec 2 to Dec 2
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Heritage Queenstown
Heritage Queenstown
4.5 out of 5
91 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
The price is $100 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 8
Heritage Queenstown
Matakauri Lodge
Matakauri Lodge
5 out of 5
569 Glenorchy Road, Lake Wakatipu, Closeburn
The price is $1,275 per night from Dec 10 to Dec 10
Matakauri Lodge
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Closeburn, Otago
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.