Lake Wakatipu

Stretching 80KM in length, Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand’s longest lake and in the top 3 for the largest. Wakatipu occupies a single glacier-carved trench surrounded by mountains in the shape of a lightning bolt, because of this unusual shape the lake has a “tide”, rising and falling an average of 10 centimetres every 30 minutes. Maori Legend explains that this tide is actually the heartbeat of Matau, a large monster who carved the lake and rests at the bottom.

Other than being Queenstown’s water supply, Lake Wakatipu is a pivotal attraction to both tourists and locals alike. We have put together a list of our favourite activities to do in the mighty Lake Wakatipu.

Kayaking & Paddle boarding

Although we may be biased we believe Queenstown is home to the most scenic kayaking and paddle boarding experience on Lake Wakatipu. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has quickly become a popular water sport in Queenstown, while kayaking is a great way to get around the bays of Lake Wakatipu. Framed by stunning mountain ranges while paddling on crystal clear alpine water, we can’t think of a better way to spend a summers day.


In summer Wakatipu’s many beaches and bays turn into popular swimming holes for locals and tourists alike. Catch a $10 water taxi across from town and set up for a day by the water across at Kelvin Heights jetty. 

Walking & Biking trails

The Frankton to Queenstown walk or the “Lake Wakatipu Ride”, part of the Queenstown Trails, is a great way to experience the lake with the whole family. This leisurely trail is easy enough to follow for all ages and levels, connecting the Frankton Arm with the Queenstown Gardens as you stroll along the edge of the lake.

Lake Wakatipu offers year-round trout fishing and our local fisherman are in the know to the good spots. According to Queenstown Fishing the mouths of the Greenstone and Lochy Rivers are particularly rewarding.


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