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Dazzling Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand's longest lake. Shaped like an inverted "n" it is a highlight of a trip to Queenstown, which nestles against a curve near the middle of the lake. During the last ice age a huge glacier carved out the lake, which sinks to a depth of 1,300 feet (400 meters).The surrounding mountains that fed the glacier provide a dramatic backdrop to the crystal waters.

Atmospheric pressures cause the lake to rise and fall about 5 inches (12 centimeters) every 5 minutes. This gave rise to the Maori legend that the rise and fall of the water is the heartbeat of a giant who lies slumbering under the water.

The magnificent lake was the location for the Lothlorein scenes in The Lord of the Rings movie. If you’d like to get out on the water the most genteel way is to climb aboard the refurbished vintage steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Cruises across the lake will take you to Walter Peak where you can see a working high-country farm.

Practical Info

The lake runs along the southern edge of Queenstown and the bars and restaurants on the shoreline are a lovely place to while away the summer evenings.

Tours & Tickets

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Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Restaurant

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 139 Reviews

Take in Queenstown's stunning lake and mountain views over lunch or dinner at Queenstown Skyline Restaurant. A scenic gondola ride will take you high above ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $42.02

Glenorchy Movie Locations Tour: The Lord of the Rings

4 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

If you’re a movie fan or lover of beautiful landscapes, take the opportunity to see film locations from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films on this Middle-earth tour ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $138.30

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown including Helicopter Flight

4 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

Treat yourself to the ultimate Milford Sound experience on this day trip from Queenstown that allows you to see this world-famous fiord region by land, sea and ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $763.44

Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 19 Reviews

Imagine yourself steering a three-wheeled luge cart around bends, over bumps and through tunnels with the view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu below. Your day ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: Varies

From USD $40.31

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown including Scenic Flight

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 8 Reviews

Experience the wonderful and breathtaking Milford Sound from the land, sea and sky on this full-day tour from Queenstown. Seethe world-famous fiord in all its ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $499.48

Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 8 Reviews

Get a taste of New Zealand farm life with dinner at Walter Peak Country Farm. Start your evening cruising along the calm waters of Lake Wakatipu from ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $94.84

Lake Wakatipu Cruise and Mt Nicholas High Country 4WD Tour

Discover New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu and Mt Nicholas high country on a catamaran cruise and 4WD tour from Queenstown. Cruise to the lake’s western shore while ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 3 hours 45 minutes (approx.)

From USD $125.66

Small-Group Historical Walking Tour on the Lakeview Trail with Transport from Queenstown

Take a guided walk through nature and step back to the past on the historic Lakeview Trail, only a short distance from downtown Queenstown in Mt Crichton ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $114.60

Lake Wakatipu Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown

Enjoy exploring New Zealand’s gorgeous Lake Wakatipu on a catamaran cruise from Queenstown. Surrounded by stunning mountains including the Remarkables and the ...  Read more

Location: Milford Sound, New Zealand
Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

From USD $43.47

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel through the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park and enjoy a Milford Sound cruise on this full-day one-way trip departing Queenstown and ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, concludes Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $162.01

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