Lake Pukaki

Holiday Travel Guide
Lake Pukaki which includes snow, a lake or waterhole and mountains

Be amazed by the color of the lake against the snowy backdrop of Aoraki/Mount Cook as you hike, drive or ride through this incredibly picturesque landscape.

Lake Pukaki sits below New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook. Combined the lake and mountain create one of the country’s most awe-inspiring vistas. When you see the ethereal, turquoise color of the water, which turns milky when the clouds roll in, you may want to pinch yourself to check if you aren’t dreaming.

The lake covers approximately 69 square miles (178 square kilometers) and was formed when a moraine, leftover rubble from melting glaciers, dammed the valley below. Lake Pukaki is fed by the Tasman River, which flows from the Tasman and Hooker glaciers to the west.

Drop into the visitor center at the base of the lake to get information and learn about the geology and history of the area. While here, try locally farmed salmon at Mount Cook Alpine Salmon in the same building.

The lake’s spellbinding color is caused by the finely ground minerals from the glaciers’ melt waters. Marvel at the contrast between the blue waters and the white peaks of Aoraki/Mount Cook. It won’t come as a surprise to movie fans that scenes from The Hobbit series were filmed on the shores of Lake Pukaki, at nearby Tasman Downs Station.

Walk, ride or hike around the lake and take in the different moods of the lake as the skies change. Cherish the feeling of solitude in this vast landscape by spending the night at The Pines camping area.

Lake Pukaki is situated between the towns of Twizel and Mount Cook Village, which offer the closest amenities and accommodation if you’re not camping. To get to Mount Cook, which is known Aoraki by Māori, follow the lake shore up to the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Stop at the viewing area about halfway along the scenic road to look back down over the lake and then up at the vastness of the mountains in the other direction. Take the short hike up from the Blue Lakes Shelter to see the Tasman Glacier to the west and the lake to the east. This rapidly retreating glacier feeds Lake Pukaki its special mix of icy water and minerals, the source of its stunning colors.

184 Cheap Hotels Near Lake Pukaki

Glentanner Park Centre
Glentanner Park Centre
4.5 out of 5
State Highway 80, Glentanner
The price is NZ$135 per night from 30 Jan. to 31 Jan.
Situated in the mountains, this luxury campsite is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Lake Pukaki and 28.9 mi (46.5 km) from Lake Ruataniwha.
4.1/5 Very Good! (121 reviews)
"Great location and very friendly and welcoming service"

Reviewed on 26 Jan. 2022

Glentanner Park Centre
Lakestone Lodge
Lakestone Lodge
5 out of 5
4589 Tekapo – Twizel Hwy, State Highway 8, Pukaki
The price is NZ$719 per night from 2 Feb. to 3 Feb.
Situated on the waterfront, this luxury lodge is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Pukaki and 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Lake Pukaki Information Center. Twizel Town Centre ...
5/5 Exceptional! (35 reviews)
Wow
"A truly magical setting with service to match. We’ve stayed in many New Zealand hotels, and this was the first where the staff seemed truly focused on exceeding guests’ expectations. And boy, did they! We had room service dinner, and each—absolutely delicious—course was delivered exactly when we ..."

Reviewed on 6 Jun. 2020

Lakestone Lodge
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
5 out of 5
86 Mt Cook Road, Ben Ohau
The price is NZ$1,224 per night from 9 Feb. to 10 Feb.
Situated on a lake, this luxury lodge is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Lake Pukaki and 9.1 mi (14.6 km) from Lake Ruataniwha. Mount John Observatory is 31.1 mi (50.1 ...
5/5 Exceptional! (4 reviews)
"Our amazing stay in the Ashley Mackenzie villa was magical! The view of the glacier lake, the mountains, and Mount Cook were spectacular. Kaye and Luke were gracious hosts and Anna was a dream to work with. The villa was first class and very well appointed. We lacked for nothing! The chef prepared ..."

Reviewed on 26 Nov. 2019

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
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.

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Lake Pukaki

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Top Lake Pukaki Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Mountain Chalets Motel
Mountain Chalets Motel
3 out of 5
Wairepo Road, Twizel
The price is NZ$117 per night from 31 Jan. to 1 Feb.
Mountain Chalets Motel
Lakestone Lodge
Lakestone Lodge
5 out of 5
4589 Tekapo – Twizel Hwy, State Highway 8, Pukaki
The price is NZ$719 per night from 4 Feb. to 5 Feb.
Lakestone Lodge
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
5 out of 5
86 Mt Cook Road, Ben Ohau
The price is NZ$1,224 per night from 9 Feb. to 10 Feb.
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Glentanner Park Centre
Glentanner Park Centre
4.5 out of 5
State Highway 80, Glentanner
The price is NZ$135 per night from 30 Jan. to 31 Jan.
Glentanner Park Centre
Pukaki Air Lodge
Pukaki Air Lodge
3 out of 5
10 Avro Ave, Pukaki Airfield, SH 8, Twizel, Pukaki, Canterbury
The price is NZ$231 per night from 8 Feb. to 9 Feb.
Pukaki Air Lodge
Sky Suites, Suite 1
Sky Suites, Suite 1
2 Swallow Dr, 2, Pukaki, Canterbury
The price is NZ$211 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.
Sky Suites, Suite 1
Sky Suites, Suite 3
Sky Suites, Suite 3
2 Swallow Dr, Suite 3, Pukaki, Canterbury
The price is NZ$211 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.
Sky Suites, Suite 3
Sky Suites, Suite 2
Sky Suites, Suite 2
2 Swallow Dr, Suite 2, Pukaki, Canterbury
The price is NZ$202 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.
Sky Suites, Suite 2
Matuka Luxury Lodge
Matuka Luxury Lodge
5 out of 5
395 Glen Lyon Rd, Ben Ohau
The price is NZ$325 per night from 26 Feb. to 27 Feb.
Matuka Luxury Lodge
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.