- Lake Pukaki is known for its turquoise waters
- Lake Pukaki has stunning views of Mount Cook
- Lake Pukaki is a stargazing haven in New Zealand
- Pukaki Wine Cellar and Observatory
- Lakestone Lodge
- Lake Pukaki is a kayaking paradise
- Lake Pukaki is perfect for fishing
- Lake Pukaki is a haven for birdwatchers
- Lake Pukaki has many cycling routes
Lake Pukaki is breathtaking—it never fails to captivate all who see it. It’s where nature’s artistry is on full display, framed by the magnificent Southern Alps and the iconic Mount Cook.
But why do so many people come to Lake Pukaki? Just what is Lake Pukaki known for?
Lake Pukaki is known for its turquoise waters, views of Mount Cook, stargazing, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, and cycling.
Let’s learn more about all these unique features that make Lake Pukaki renowned.
Lake Pukaki is known for its turquoise waters
Lake Pukaki owes its stunning turquoise hue to what is known as “glacial flour” or “rock flour”. This fine powder is created when thick, heavy glaciers move across bedrock, grinding it into fine dust.
When this ‘flour’ mixes with the lake water, it refracts sunlight, creating the mesmerizing blue-green colour for which Lake Pukaki is known for.
Lake Pukaki receives water from the Tasman and Hooker rivers. These rivers draw some of their flows from melting glaciers, carrying with them the glacial flour that gives Lake Pukaki its unique colour.
Lake Pukaki has stunning views of Mount Cook
Lake Pukaki’s reputation as a vantage point for Mt. Cook’s views is well-deserved. Its unique geographical location, combined with its vibrant colour palette, offers a visual spectacle that is both diverse and awe-inspiring.
The water’s vibrant turquoise hue contrasts with the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Cook, making it an ideal setting for landscape photography. The lake is flanked by a stunning array of flowers, further enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
But the journey to Mt. Cook is a visual treat in itself. The Mt. Cook Road snakes its way underneath the Ben Ohau Range, runs alongside Lake Pukaki, and gives travellers myriad opportunities for impromptu photo stops.
One popular spot is Peter’s Lookout, located above Lake Pukaki, which provides an elevated perspective of the lake and the mountains beyond.
Lake Pukaki is a stargazing haven in New Zealand
Lake Pukaki isn’t just known for its awe-inspiring views of Aoraki/Mt. Cook, but also as a premier location for stargazing. Its unique geographical position, low light pollution, and clear, dark skies make it a celestial theatre, offering some of the best stargazing experiences in the world.
It’s in the heart of the Mackenzie Basin, so Lake Pukaki has unspoiled views of the night sky. And since Lake Pukaki sits within the boundaries of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the reserve’s strict light pollution controls create the best conditions for observing the night sky in all its glory.
Pukaki Wine Cellar and Observatory
The Pukaki Wine Cellar and Observatory offers private stargazing tours, allowing anyone to delve into the mysteries of the universe from a comfortable setting. The observatory also provides an exclusive wine-tasting experience, making it a perfect culinary and celestial exploration blend.
Lakestone Lodge, located on the shores of Lake Pukaki, is another prime location for stargazing. With its grounds situated in the heart of the Dark Sky Reserve, the lodge offers guests an unmatched opportunity to witness the Milky Way’s grandeur.
Lake Pukaki is a kayaking paradise
Lake Pukaki has gained popularity for kayaking. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, stunning mountain backdrops, and serene environment, kayaking at Lake Pukaki is simply breathtaking.
The lake’s environment varies from open paddocks abutting the water to more secluded areas, making it a delight to explore by kayak. Pukaki Adventures offers scenic bike rentals, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboard rentals. They also have exquisite kayak safaris, which include an exciting off-road trip to their beautiful private beach.
Lake Pukaki is perfect for fishing
Lake Pukaki is a dream come true for fishing enthusiasts. The lake has a reasonable population of brown and rainbow trout. The best spots to fish are usually around the mouths of the clear water creeks and rivers that feed the lake.
The canals of Lake Pukaki are particularly productive fisheries and hold brown trout, rainbow trout, and salmon. Lake Pukaki also offers fantastic opportunities for fly fishing.
Lake Pukaki is a haven for birdwatchers
Lake Pukaki’s diverse ecosystem, strategic location, and the variety of avian species it hosts make it a birdwatcher’s heaven. It’s home to many bird species, including black-fronted Terns, the great crested grebe and the rare black stilt.
Auldwood Birds is a guided birdwatching company in the Mackenzie Region, including Lake Pukaki. Their tours explore Lake Tekapo and its surroundings, giving visitors the best chance to see many bird species native to the area.
Lake Pukaki has many cycling routes
The lake’s surrounding cycle trails, with their unique terrain and breathtaking views, offer an unparalleled cycling experience.
One of the most renowned cycle trails in the area is the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Beginning at the Southern Alps’ foot, either at Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park or Lake Tekapo, this trail takes cyclists on a journey alongside the stunning Lake Pukaki.
Another popular cycling tour around Lake Pukaki is the Lake Pukaki Cycle & Indulge Tour. This 40km loop begins at Lakestone Lodge and offers cyclists the chance to take in spectacular views of lakes, mountains, rivers, and canals of the Mackenzie Country.