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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.


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 359 properties near Lake Wakatipu
Heritage Queenstown AU$196
Heritage Queenstown

Heritage Queenstown

91 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
     
    4.5
    of 5, from 2,239 reviews
    4.5 out of 5.0

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

    Matakauri Lodge AU$1,959
    Matakauri Lodge

    Matakauri Lodge

    569 Glenorchy Road, Closeburn
       
      5.0
      of 5, from 4 reviews
      5.0 out of 5.0

      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).

      Chalet New Zermatt
      Chalet New Zermatt

      Chalet New Zermatt

      Lot 10 Forsetlines Rise, Closeburn
         
        5.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Closeburn, this luxury chalet is close to Lake Wakatipu. Area attractions also include Queenstown Gardens and Skyline Gondola.

        Millennium Hotel Queenstown AU$212
        Millennium Hotel Queenstown

        Millennium Hotel Queenstown

        32 Frankton Road, Queenstown
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 1,677 reviews
          4.5 out of 5.0

          This family-friendly Queenstown hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Gardens. Skyline Gondola is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) away.

          Peppers Beacon Queenstown AU$216
          Peppers Beacon Queenstown

          Peppers Beacon Queenstown

          34 Lake Esplanade, Queenstown
             
            4.2
            of 5, from 902 reviews
            4.5 out of 5.0

            Situated in Queenstown, this luxury apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of SKYCITY Wharf Casino, Lake Wakatipu, and Queenstown Gardens. Skyline Gondola is 1.3 mi (2 km) away.

            Mercure Queenstown Resort AU$168
            Mercure Queenstown Resort

            Mercure Queenstown Resort

            Sainsbury Road, Queenstown
               
              4.2
              of 5, from 1,217 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located near the slopes, this Queenstown hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of SKYCITY Wharf Casino and Lake Wakatipu and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Queenstown Gardens and Skyline Gondola are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Novotel Queenstown Lakeside AU$213
              Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

              Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

              Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
                 
                4.4
                of 5, from 2,191 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                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 2 mi (3 km).

                Muna Moke Lake And Mountain Views
                Muna Moke Lake And Mountain Views

                Muna Moke Lake And Mountain Views

                19 Summit Lane, Alpine Retreat, Closeburn
                   
                  5.0
                  of 5, from 1 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Closeburn, this vacation home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Crown Range, Lake Wakatipu, and Moke Lake. Walter Peak High Country Farm and Toi o Tahuna are also within 6 mi (10 km).