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Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

The Basics

There are several ways to experience Lake Wakatipu. Jet boats ferry passengers to 4WD vehicles for off-road adventures in the Southern Alps or Paradise Valley; helicopter tours fly travelers over the lake, Fiordland, and Milford Sound; and fishing charters promise a good catch.

For a more relaxed experience, opt for a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw or glide along the river on a catamaran while taking in the view. You can also view the lake from Saint Omer Park, Queenstown Gardens, the Queenstown Trail, or one of the many restaurants on the southern shoreline in central Queenstown.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Queenstown

star-4
Awesome visit with great staff
Jimmy_C, Jul 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Great views, excellent weather, well-maintained Catemaran with lovely and friendly staff and captain. Great to visit the captain whilst steering the ship!
star-5
Wakatipu holiday cruise
Kerry, Jul 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Cool cruise on Wakatipu with great commentary and awesome scenery. Local history and other activities described well during cruise.
star-5
Fantastic great mulled wine
Sonya_W, Jul 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Mulled wine Fantastic scenery great boat x would recommend anyone to take this great cheese platter and price value excellent.
star-5
What an amazing lake
Miriam_N, Jun 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Although the weather wasn’t on our side all the crew did amazing trying to make it worth it for us Queenstown should be proud to live in an amazing part of the world
star-4
Lovely
Kerrie_G, May 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
It was lovely - very easy and spectacular views. i think it should be a bit more that if you have booked the cruise with the wine and cheese paid, then preference for a window seat should be allotted to those, then others choose the rest. Other than that, no complaints.
star-5
Excellent short trip, highly recommend
ROWENA_H, May 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Relaxing and informative. An easy way to have a great look around the lake area in a short timeframe. Recommend. It is very professionally run. A great idea being able to preorder cheese platters etc.
star-5
Amazing Cruise
Steven_K, May 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
This was better than I had expected. The crew were really friendly and helpful and the Captain was funny and very informative. Amazing views and awesome book ride.
star-5
Wonderful views
Escape12639364455, Jun 2019
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Modern clean and safe boat with great staff and good commentary. Views are extraordinary. Easy to find.
star-5
Beautiful scenery, friendly and helpful staff
Kylie_D, Apr 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Beautiful cruise with lots of information and friendly staff. We did the cheese and wine cruise and loved it.
star-5
Very Enjoyable
Ewan_B, Apr 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Great Service and well priced, thoroughly enjoyable, kid friendly and would definitely do again in the future
star-5
Stunning Experience
Cathy_L, Mar 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
The most incredible stunning views. Great commentary and super friendly and helpful staff - could not have asked for a better afternoon
star-5
Beautiful
Jivir_V, Feb 2021
Lake Wakatipu Scenic Catamaran Cruise from Queenstown
Fantastic cruise and fantastic staff who are very knowledgeable about the history of the area. The wine and cheese platter is a great choice.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Tour options are available for families with kids and solo adventurers alike.

  • Be sure to dress in layers, as the wind can pick up suddenly.

  • Tours range from short, 90-minute excursions to full-day, 8-hour adventures.

  • Many of the Lake Wakatipu experiences are accessible for wheelchair users; check with your tour provider in advance.

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How to Get There

Queenstown is right on the lake, so a trip to this popular city includes easy lake access. Additional access points abound between Kingston on the south end and Glenorchy on the north end. Tours usually include round-trip pickup and drop-off from Queenstown.

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When to Get There

The Southern Lakes region is a year-round travel destination, offering phenomenal skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Lake activities are more popular during the warmer months, although the glacier-fed lake remains cold regardless of the season.

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Legendary Shores

Atmospheric pressures cause the water level in the lake to rise and fall about five inches (12 centimeters) every five 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. Modern storytellers chose the lake as a filming location for the Lothlorein scenes in The Lord of the Rings.

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