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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.

Chilling on a beach doing not much sure is nice, but there's nothing like diving into some amazing new experiences on your vacation!

This place has a huge range of activities on offer. Here are some ideas to kick off your trip to Lake Wakatipu:

If you'd like to check out a comprehensive list of activities, jump onto our Lake Wakatipu things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Lake Wakatipu


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Lake Wakatipu

See all 966 Properties near Lake Wakatipu
Heritage Queenstown $130
Heritage Queenstown

Heritage Queenstown

91 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Queenstown hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Steamer Wharf and Lake Wakatipu. Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens are also within 2 mi (3 km).

    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

    Closeburn, Otago
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Closeburn, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Walter Peak High Country Farm and Crown Range. Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens are also within 9 mi (15 km).

      Kamana Lakehouse $119
      Kamana Lakehouse

      Kamana Lakehouse

      139 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Queenstown hotel is located in the mountains, within 2 mi (3 km) of TSS Earnslaw Steamship and Queenstown Gardens. Queenstown Hill and Skyline Gondola are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Oaks Shores $115
        Oaks Shores

        Oaks Shores

        327-343 Frankton Road, Queenstown
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated on the waterfront, this luxury apartment building is within 3 mi (5 km) of St Josephs Parish, Queenstown Gardens, and Lake Wakatipu. Skyline Gondola is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) away.

          Lakeside Bliss
          Lakeside Bliss

          Lakeside Bliss

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

            Situated in Closeburn, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Skyline Gondola and Walter Peak High Country Farm. Crown Range and Fear Factory Queenstown are also within 6 mi (10 km).

            Matakauri Lodge $1,188
            Matakauri Lodge

            Matakauri Lodge

            569 Glenorchy Road, Lake Wakatipu, Closeburn
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Offering direct access to the beach, this Closeburn lodge is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Crown Range. Queenstown Gardens and TSS Earnslaw Steamship are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Lakeside Maisonette - Absolute Lakefront
              Lakeside Maisonette - Absolute Lakefront

              Lakeside Maisonette - Absolute Lakefront

              Closeburn, Otago
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated on a lake, this cottage is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and 2.5 mi (4.1 km) from Crown Range. Skyline Gondola and Queenstown Gardens are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Novotel Queenstown Lakeside $141
                Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

                Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

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

                  This family-friendly Queenstown hotel is located on a lake, within a 5-minute walk of Williams Cottage and Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown Gardens and Skyline Gondola are also within 10 minutes.