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Top Lake in New Zealand

Lake Rotorua

The second largest lake on the North Island of New Zealand, Lake Rotorua was formed in the crater of a volcano. Tinged a slightly yellow colour by the sulphur for which the area is renowned, the lake is perhaps not too tempting for a swim. However, if you’re in New Zealand walking, you’ll find no better route than around a section of the lake. Once you’ve seen the water close up, you may like to get an aerial view by taking a trip on the Skyline Skyride gondola, where you can enjoy the phenomenal view and even do a little shopping in the souvenir shops and restaurants. From the top of the gondola, you will get a fantastic view of Mokoia Island, which Maori legend names as the setting of the great love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

Lake Taupo

Also found on the North Island, Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s biggest and most impressive lake. Created by the largest volcanic eruption that has been recorded within the last 5000 years, the freshwater lake is a beautiful shade of blue from which it is difficult to avert your gaze. One of the most popular havens of activity in New Zealand, walking around the lake you are likely to spot a number of parachutes floating above you as skydivers descend. However, if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, there are some glorious hikes to be enjoyed, including the Great Lake Walkway between Taupo to Wharewaka Point, the Huka Falls Walkway, and even a wander around the Waipahihi Botanical Reserve.

Lake Wanaka

One of the jewels of the South Island, Lake Wanaka is estimated to be over 300 metres deep. The lake is overlooked by the Mount Aspiring National Park, allowing for beautiful reflections to be cast over the waters on calm days. In the winter months, these mountains are scattered with skiers, and in summer, walkers can rediscover the trails that have been hidden underneath the snow. Paths through the foothills will take you around the edge of the lake, passing remnants of Maori carvings and statues as you go. Whatever the season, Lake Wanaka is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places in New Zealand. Walking the shores of the lake with the backdrop of the mountains for company is a rewarding pastime whether there are autumn leaves on the trees, snow on the ground, or a warm sun beating down on your back.

Though for many, New Zealand walking is all about navigating glaciers and climbing mountains, some of the most beautiful views come from a slightly lower altitude. With some of the most impressive stretches of water in the world, there is nothing quite like walking the shores of New Zealand’s lakes.