Nelson Lakes National Park

Nelson Lakes National Park featuring mountains, a sunset and a bay or harbor
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A scenic playground for anglers, hikers, bird-watchers and skiers, the northern gateway to the Southern Alps has two glacial lakes and various hiking paths.

Just a few hours from Nelson you’ll notice the elevation shift, the air freshen and the trees become dense as you close in on Nelson Lakes National Park. Covering 102,000 hectares (252,047 acres), the national park is considered the northern gateway to New Zealand’s famous Southern Alps. Shaped by glacial movement the national park is the site of two mountain ranges and is punctuated by the Rotoroa and Rotoiti glacial lakes. Stay in the comfort of St. Arnaud, the town on the park’s border, or get back to nature at one of the park’s many camping grounds and hikers huts.

Stay in the national park to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s natural beauty. The Nelson Lakes National Park’s main campground is located on the banks of Lake Rotoiti. From your campsite on the edge of the water you’ll have stunning views of the St. Arnaud Ranges and Mount Robert. There’s a smaller campground at Lake Rotoroa, as well as an upscale fishing lodge. Test your skills as you fly fish on the lake. The national park is a popular destination for trout fishing, with a large number of brown trout recorded in the glacial lakes.

Embark on a day hike to explore the surrounds of the lake or set out on a multi-day trek to go farther afield. A 3-day loop trail will take you around Lake Angelus while the 5-day Travers-Sabine Circuit is a popular longer walk. Water taxis operate on both lakes and can deliver you to the trailheads of more remote treks.

In winter, the slopes of the national park become a destination for skiers. Bring your skis or snowboard to tackle the trails of the Rainbow Ski Field. Lift passes can be obtained in St. Arnaud.

Nelson Lakes National Park is between 1 to 2 hours’ drive south of Nelson and is serviced by the neighbouring town of St. Arnaud. Fees and permits are required for staying in the park and accommodation should be booked in advance.

Top Hotels Close to Nelson Lakes National Park

Alpine Lodge
Alpine Lodge
3.5 out of 5
75 Main Road, St. Arnaud, 7072
The price is $98 per night from Aug 12 to Aug 13
Stay at this 3.5-star hotel in St. Arnaud. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms in our reviews. ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (368 reviews)
"Everything was great"

Reviewed on Aug 6, 2022

Alpine Lodge
DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
Maruia, West Coast
Stay at this cottage in Maruia. Enjoy free WiFi, private spa tubs, and onsite parking. Discover genuine guest reviews for DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night. ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (51 reviews)
Loved a staying here miles away from everything
"Loved staying here miles from everything spa was wonderful experience only thing would recommend is some instruction how to use microwave bit fancy for us 🤣 but certainly wouldn't hesitate to stay again"

Reviewed on Aug 4, 2022

DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
St Arnaud, Tasman
The price is $101 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 17
Stay at this vacation home in St. Arnaud. Enjoy onsite parking, barbecue grills, and a patio. Popular attraction Lake Rotoiti is located nearby. Discover genuine ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (24 reviews)
Lovely cottage
"Lovely little cottage, nice location, short stroll down to the lake, and village. Heat pump did a good job in the middle of winter to heat the house, would just recommend curtains for all windows as unfortunately it lets the cold in a lot. Really quaint though, with everything you need. Will be back ..."

Reviewed on Jul 19, 2022

Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
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 Nelson Lakes National Park


Best Lodging Options Near Nelson Lakes National Park

Off The Beaten Trail Accommodation & Bike Tours
Off The Beaten Trail Accommodation & Bike Tours
3 out of 5
30 Fairfax Street, Murchison, 7007
The price is $71 per night from Aug 12 to Aug 13
Off The Beaten Trail Accommodation & Bike Tours
Alpine Lodge
Alpine Lodge
3.5 out of 5
75 Main Road, St. Arnaud, 7072
The price is $98 per night from Aug 12 to Aug 13
Alpine Lodge
DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
Maruia, West Coast
DOC tracks by day, Massage Spa by night.
Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
St Arnaud, Tasman
The price is $101 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 17
Sunny, Private Cottage in St Arnaud
Spacious and cosy, bush setting
Spacious and cosy, bush setting
St Arnaud, Saint Arnaud
Spacious and cosy, bush setting
Avarest Bed and Breakfast
Avarest Bed and Breakfast
3.5 out of 5
33 Kerr Bay Road, St. Arnaud, 7053
The price is $137 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 17
Avarest Bed and Breakfast
Bellbird Bach on Lake Road
Bellbird Bach on Lake Road
St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes
Bellbird Bach on Lake Road
Grand Suites Murchison
Grand Suites Murchison
3.5 out of 5
99 Waller St, Murchison, Tasman, 7007
The price is $92 per night from Aug 11 to Aug 12
Grand Suites Murchison
Mataki Motels
Mataki Motels
3 out of 5
34 Hotham Street, Murchison, 7007
The price is $72 per night from Aug 11 to Aug 12
Mataki Motels
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.