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 RM367 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Located near the slopes, this Queenstown City Centre hotel is situated in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Lake Wakatipu and Skyline Gondola, and is ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (383 reviews)
"Friendly staff, excellent cleanliness. Well priced with good room amenities. Convenient location."

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2021

Ramada Queenstown Central
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
QT Queenstown
QT Queenstown
5 out of 5
30 Brunswick St, Queenstown
The price is RM596 per night from 3 Oct to 3 Oct
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
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 RM367 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Ramada Queenstown Central
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 RM596 per night from 3 Oct to 3 Oct
QT Queenstown
Matakauri Lodge
Matakauri Lodge
5 out of 5
569 Glenorchy Road, Lake Wakatipu, Closeburn
The price is RM4,390 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Matakauri Lodge
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
5 out of 5
Kawarau Village, 79 Peninsula Road, Kawarau Falls
The price is RM436 per night from 27 Sep to 27 Sep
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
4 out of 5
Corner of Earl and Marine Parade, Queenstown
The price is RM488 per night from 29 Sep to 29 Sep
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
4 out of 5
27 Frankton Road, Queenstown
The price is RM405 per night from 25 Sep to 25 Sep
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront
Kamana Lakehouse
Kamana Lakehouse
4.5 out of 5
139 Fernhill Road, Queenstown
The price is RM513 per night from 26 Sep to 26 Sep
Kamana Lakehouse
Mercure Queenstown Resort
Mercure Queenstown Resort
4 out of 5
Sainsbury Road, Queenstown
The price is RM384 per night from 17 Sep to 17 Sep
Mercure Queenstown Resort
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.