Lake Manapouri is often described as the 'loveliest' of all lakes with its array of 33 small islands, backdrop of the majestic Cathedral Mountain range, native bush clad edges, sandy beaches and coves.
The peaceful township of Manapouri lies on the shores of the lake and Waiau River (population 300).
Lake Manapouri is renowned as a catalyst for environmental consciousness amongst New Zealanders as plans to flood the lake for power generation became evident in the 1950's. Lake Manapouri was subsequently ‘saved’ with the power station at West Arm now operating under strict controls.
Originally called Roto-au (the rainy lake) by early Maori and then Moturau (many islands), this lake is the second deepest in New Zealand with a circumference of 170 kilometres and deepest point of 444 metres.
Nowadays, Manapouri is known as the departure point for Doubtful Sound excursions and trips to the West Arm Power Station, the largest underground power generation in the southern hemisphere.
Manapouri has also become popular for its variety of day and overnight walks on the Manapouri Track. This track provides a 4 hour walk on the Circle Track and overnight walks to Hope Arm and Mt Titiroa. A highlight of these walks is that access to the start of the track is across the river. Row boat hire and water taxis are available to transport you over. This track boasts great bird life and stunning views.
More remote tracks around the lake include 'The Monument', 'Waterfall Walk' at Stockyard Cove, Gorgeburn Falls Track, the Kepler Track, Cone Peak, Percy's Pass, and Dusky Track and all are accessible by water taxi.
Kayaking on the lake, although weather dependent, is a wonderful way to experience all the remote bays and sandy beaches, the only sounds the song of birds and splash of water.
Manapouri provides visitors to the area with a variety of accommodation and with two cafes, a restaurant, a garage and hotel, has all the amenities for those who enjoy peaceful surroundings. Unhurried and picturesque Manapouri is a visit you will enjoy.
Lake Manapouri is 20kms South of Te Anau
- Quick Facts
Depth: 444m max (2nd deepest in NZ)
178m above sea level
Shore Length: 170 km
Coordinates: 45°30'S 167°30'E