Lake Wakatipu

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

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.

1444 Cheap Hotels Near Lake Wakatipu

QT Queenstown
QT Queenstown
5 out of 5
30 Brunswick St, Queenstown
The price is NZ$234 per night from 26 Sep. to 26 Sep.
Located in Queenstown City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Steamer Wharf and Skyline Gondola. SKYCITY Wharf Casino and Creative Queenstown ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (648 reviews)
"Friendly staff. Amazing bed. Were trying to buy one like it. Great location."

Reviewed on 20 Aug. 2021

QT Queenstown
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
792B Glenorchy Road, Wilson Bay, 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 Gondola and CaddyShack ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (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 23 Feb. 2020

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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 holiday home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lake Wakatipu and within 6 miles (10 km) of Skyline Gondola and Crown Range. Steamer Wharf and ...
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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.

Plan a trip to see Lake Wakatipu

Holiday Inn Express And Suites Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Heritage Queenstown
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Top Lake Wakatipu Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Ramada Queenstown Central
Ramada Queenstown Central
4 out of 5
24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is NZ$142 per night from 3 Oct. to 3 Oct.
Ramada Queenstown Central
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
Wake up to the chorus of tuis and bellbirds
792B Glenorchy Road, Wilson Bay, 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
QT Queenstown
QT Queenstown
5 out of 5
30 Brunswick St, Queenstown
The price is NZ$234 per night from 26 Sep. to 26 Sep.
QT Queenstown
Matakauri Lodge
Matakauri Lodge
5 out of 5
569 Glenorchy Road, Lake Wakatipu, Closeburn
The price is NZ$1,620 per night from 3 Oct. to 3 Oct.
Matakauri Lodge
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
31 Closeburn Rd, Closeburn, Otago
The price is NZ$364 per night from 25 Sep. to 25 Sep.
Cute Cottage with Hot Tub & Uninterrupted Lake Views
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
5 out of 5
Kawarau Village, 79 Peninsula Road, Kawarau Falls
The price is NZ$169 per night from 27 Sep. to 27 Sep.
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Glenorchy Road, Closeburn, Otago
Lakeside Maisonette - absolute lakefront
Bivvy House - Luxurious- House Of The Year Winner!
Bivvy House - Luxurious- House Of The Year Winner!
607D Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, Closeburn, Otago
Bivvy House - Luxurious- House Of The Year Winner!
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.