Go beneath the surface of Lake Wakatipu and discover a marine ecosystem teeming with life just meters from the lakefront at the Underwater Observatory in Queenstown. Watch trout, ducks, and slippery eels swim and feed from the observatory’s large windows, and learn all about the history of Wakatipu’s underwater world. The Basics
Located on the Main Town Pier in central Queenstown, the KJet Underwater Observatory offers otherwise-inaccessible underwater views of the ice-cold Lake Wakatipu. The lake’s average temperature is around 48°F (9°C), but that’s not too cold for the fish and birds that call the lake home. The observatory has six large windows that look out into the lake, and through them you can watch animals swim around and feed during feeding time. Displays around the observatory tell the story of the lake and its significance in Maori mythology. Things to Know Before You Go
- The Underwater Observatory is ideal for wildlife lovers and families with children.
- Families can get group tickets to the observatory at a discounted price.
- If you purchase a KJet ride on the nearby Shotover and Kawarau rivers, you get free entry to the Observatory before or after your ride.
- Getting to the Underwater Observatory involves walking down some stairs, so the attraction may be difficult to access with wheelchairs or strollers.
How to Get There
The Underwater Observatory is near the KJet Queenstown office on the Main Town Pier, a short walk from Mall Street in the city center. There is no parking immediately outside the pier, but there is a public lot on nearby Church Street. When to Get There
The observatory is open from 8:30am to dusk daily. If you’re taking a river jet-boat ride and have free observatory entry as a result, leave some free time before or after your ride to visit. Otherwise, to beat the crowds and get the best views, visit on the hour in the morning or late afternoon, just after the hourly jet-boat tour has left.Native and Exotic Fish at Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is home to brown trout and rainbow trout, both introduced species (from Europe and North America, respectively) that can grow to incredible sizes. If you’re more interested in the lake’s native residents, you can also see plenty of slippery New Zealand long-finned eels and New Zealand scaup, diving ducks that often fly in large flocks.