Best New Zealand Summer Lakes – South Island

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Read about 'Best New Zealand Summer Lakes – South Island' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

With the hot days rolling in, everyone wants to head to the water to cool off this summer. Droves of day trippers and holidaymakers head to the beaches around the country that offer up sun, surf and sand and usually a lifeguard or two to keep watch. However this means that they can get extremely busy over this period, which makes them a lot less relaxing and enjoyable. If you want to have a splash while still avoiding the crowds, the South Island offers a number of alternatives in the form of natural lakes.


An hour or so inland from Christchurch, Lake Coleridge is a wide lake nestled in a mountain valley. There’s only a dirt road in so you need to make sure your rental car is up to the task, but the reward is a secluded lakeside playground with plenty of space for boating, kayaking and swimming. There are also a number of smaller, quiet lakes along the road in for you to make a detour to.


One of the South Island’s most famous lakes is Wanaka, a couple of hours drive from Queenstown. In summer its home to a buzzing community of hotels, backpackers and lakeside attractions. There’s heaps to see and do in the area besides swimming, and it’s great for family fun.


In between Christchurch and Queenstown lies Lake Tekapo, high up in the Mackenzie Country. An alpine lake, its surrounded by beautiful crisp mountain vistas and has one of the clearest night skies in the world – so much so that it’s recognised as a heritage site and home to a large observatory. Star tours are among the attractions that operate over the summer, as well as lake activities such as kayaks and canoeing.

Nelson Lakes

Up to the north of the island lie the Nelson Lakes, a network of beautiful lakes that are nestled in preserved natural beech forest. There are many walking tracks through here including some that link up to the Abel Tasman National Park, and the lakes themselves are very tranquil and peaceful. There are a number of DOC-operated camping grounds along their shores too, so it’s a cheaper option than some of the other areas.

New Zealand’s South Island offers a range of lakes that are not only picturesque but great for splashing about and having fun too. Jump in a New Zealand rental car and make the most of this great resource.