Lake Wakatipu

Holiday Travel Guide
Lake Wakatipu showing 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.

Top 10 Hotels Near Lake Wakatipu

Ramada Queenstown Central
Ramada Queenstown Central
4 out of 5
24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is RM372 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Located near the slopes, this Queenstown City Centre hotel is situated in the mountains and within a 10-minute walk of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Mall and Creative ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (395 reviews)
"It’s neat and tidy and got all the facilities. However our rubbish was not removed on our last day."

Reviewed on 2 Oct 2021

Ramada Queenstown Central
QT Queenstown
QT Queenstown
5 out of 5
30 Brunswick St, Queenstown
The price is RM581 per night from 27 Oct to 27 Oct
Located in Queenstown City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Steamer Wharf, SKYCITY Wharf Casino, and Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (650 reviews)
"Lovely hotel to stay in. The rooms are comfortable. The amenities are great and it is within walking distance of restaurants and shopping. The lake views are wonderful. The staff are super helpful and friendly. I stay here regularly and will continue to do so."

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2021

QT Queenstown
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
4 out of 5
Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is RM480 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
This family-friendly Queenstown hotel is located on a lake, steps away from Williams Cottage, Lake Wakatipu and Church of St Peters. Queenstown Mall and Creative ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (986 reviews)
"Our family has stayed here twice and really love it. Great location, plus great movie channels. Always clean. Has everything you need."

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2021

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
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 Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu


Top Lake Wakatipu Hotel Deals

Ramada Queenstown Central
Ramada Queenstown Central
4 out of 5
24 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is RM372 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Ramada Queenstown Central
QT Queenstown
QT Queenstown
5 out of 5
30 Brunswick St, Queenstown
The price is RM581 per night from 27 Oct to 27 Oct
QT Queenstown
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
4 out of 5
Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
The price is RM480 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
93 Beach Street, Queenstown, Otago
The price is RM447 per night from 18 Oct to 18 Oct
Crowne Plaza Hotel Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
4 out of 5
27 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is RM377 per night from 18 Oct to 18 Oct
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
Lakeside Bliss
Lakeside Bliss
3.5 out of 5
798 Glenorchy Road, Wilsons Bay, Closeburn, Otago
Lakeside Bliss
Kamana Lakehouse
Kamana Lakehouse
4.5 out of 5
139 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
The price is RM483 per night from 18 Oct to 18 Oct
Kamana Lakehouse
Matakauri Lodge
Matakauri Lodge
5 out of 5
569 Glenorchy Road, Lake Wakatipu, Closeburn
The price is RM5,465 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Matakauri Lodge
Holiday Inn Express And Suites Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express And Suites Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
4 out of 5
CNR STANLEY AND SYDNEY STREET, Queenstown
The price is RM394 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Holiday Inn Express And Suites Queenstown, an IHG Hotel
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.