Lake Hawea: A Traveler's Paradise in New Zealand

Lake Hawea

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Nestled in the heart of New Zealand's picturesque Otago Region lies Lake Hāwea, a natural marvel that promises both serenity and adventure. As the country's ninth-largest lake, its pristine waters and rich history beckon travelers from around the world. 

    Dive into this guide to uncover the wonders of Lake Hāwea and embark on a journey through its breathtaking landscapes and cultural significance. Whether you're an avid adventurer or a tranquil seeker, Lake Hāwea has something enchanting to offer.

    What is Lake Hawea? 

    Lake Hāwea is a breathtaking natural wonder, ranking as New Zealand's ninth-largest lake. Nestled in the Otago Region, this lake boasts an impressive altitude of 348 metres. 

    Spanning a vast 141 km², its deepest point plunges to a staggering 392 metres. The lake's name traces back to a Māori tribe that once inhabited the region before the Waitaha people.

    Hawea Lake

    Where is Lake Hawea located? 

    Lake Hāwea is beautifully situated within the Queenstown-Lakes District of the Otago Region on South Island. It stretches a remarkable 35 kilometres from north to south, lying in a glacial valley sculpted during the last ice age. 

    The lake is fed by the Hunter River and is in close proximity to Lake Wānaka, which is just eight kilometres to the west. These two lakes are separated by a rocky ridge known as "The Neck," with a mere 1000 metres between them.

    What is the best time to visit Lake Hawea? 

    While Lake Hawea is a year-round destination, the summer months offer a plethora of activities like fishing, boating, and swimming. The surrounding mountains and rapid rivers cater to adventure seekers throughout the year, with opportunities for jet boating and skiing.

    Things to do at Lake Hawea

    Water Sports 

    Dive into the clear waters of Lake Hawea for a refreshing swim. The lake's serene environment makes it perfect for paddleboarding, offering a tranquil experience as you glide across its surface. 

    The vast expanse of the lake also provides ample opportunities for other water activities, ensuring that water enthusiasts have a memorable time.

    Lake Hawea in New Zealand


    The pristine waters of Lake Hawea beckon swimmers to take a dip. Its cool waters are a welcome respite, especially during the hot summer months. Whether you're an avid swimmer or just looking to relax, the lake's shores are the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a leisurely swim.


    Lake Hawea is surrounded by scenic trails that promise panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding peaks. One such trail begins at Timaru River Road, leading to Timaru Creek, a popular picnic and camping area. As you hike through valleys of beech forest, the trail eventually opens up to a braided river bed, offering a unique hiking experience.

    Banner CVNZ


    Feel the cool breeze against your face as you cycle along the lakeside. The picturesque surroundings make biking around Lake Hawea a delightful experience. Whether you're an experienced cyclist or a beginner, the trails around the lake cater to all skill levels.

    Biking in Lake Hawea


    Lake Hawea is renowned for its legendary fishing spots. Anglers can try their luck at catching some of the local fish species. The serene environment, combined with the thrill of fishing, makes it a favorite activity among visitors.


    Rent a boat and set sail across the vast expanse of Lake Hawea. The calm waters of the lake make it ideal for boating, allowing you to explore its hidden corners and enjoy the scenic beauty from a different perspective.

    Boat in Lake Hawea


    Capture the picturesque landscapes of Lake Hawea and its vibrant sunsets. The lake, with its surrounding peaks and vivid beauty, offers countless photo opportunities, making it a paradise for photography enthusiasts.


    Apart from the natural beauty of the lake itself, the area around Lake Hawea boasts several attractions. Visit sites like the iconic Wanaka Tree, explore the majestic Mount Aspiring National Park, or indulge in some wine tasting at the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley. 

    Each of these places adds a unique flavor to your trip, ensuring that you have a comprehensive sightseeing experience.

    Lake Hawea weather 

    The climate around Lake Hāwea is temperate, making it suitable for visits throughout the year. Summers are warm and ideal for water activities, while winters are chilly, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

    Tree in Lake Hawea

    What to pack for a trip to Lake Hawea 

    • Comfortable Clothing: Pack both light and warm clothing to cater to the varying temperatures.
    • Swimwear: Don't forget your swimsuit for those refreshing dips.
    • Hiking Shoes: Essential for those adventurous treks.
    • Camera: To capture the mesmerizing beauty of the lake and its surroundings.
    • Fishing Gear: If you're keen on fishing, bring along your equipment.
    • Sunscreen and Hat: Protect yourself from the sun's rays during outdoor activities.


    Lake Hāwea is undoubtedly a gem in New Zealand's crown, offering a blend of relaxation and adventure. Its pristine waters, surrounded by majestic mountains, make it a must-visit for every traveler. 

    And if you're considering exploring New Zealand in a unique way, why not rent a caravan? It's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of the country. Dive into the enchanting world of Lake Hawea and create memories that will last a lifetime!

    Banner CVNZ

    Let’s go on an adventure!

    Unbeatable prices. Premium customer service.

    Book now
    Campervan New ZealandBook now