Nelson lakes National park, home of Blue Lake

Nelson lakes National park, home of Blue Lake
Sonia Kumar

Written by Sonia Kumar

Tucked away deep in the New Zealand mountains is Nelson lakes National park, home of Blue Lake. In 2011, scientific tests were completed by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. The results determined that the clearest natural body of fresh water in the world is Blue Lake. The lake has a clear visibility up to 262 feet, making the body almost as clear optically as distilled drinking water.

Blue-violet hues characterise Blue Lake. These hues can only be found in the clearest natural waters. Lake Constance, which is nearby, feeds into Blue Lake in the northern area of the South Island of Nelson Lakes National Park conservation area. Known as one of the most popular fishing and hiking destinations throughout New Zealand, visitors must endure a two day hike from the boundary of the park in order to reach the lake. Reid helicopters provide scenic flights that offer an amazing aerial view of the park and the island.

Because the source of water is spring fed and an altitude level of 1200 meters above sea level, the temperature of Blue Lake never rises above 8 degrees Celsius. Because the waters are considered to be sacred by a local tribe, the lake is off limits to swimmers or anyone else looking to create a splash. However, because of conservation purposes, Klaus Thymann, a Danish environmentalist and photo journalist was given special permission to capture the clarity of the lake.

Nelson is the closest main centre of the national park, which begins at the northern end of the Southern Alps. Since 1956, the 393 square mile park has been a tourist hotspot. Many remote mountain passes are available in order to challenge skilled and advanced mountain climbers, while overnight camping, fishing, and camping are available at the lower reaches. Populations of native birds, lizards, and kiwi, have made the park home through the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project.

Blue lake is found upon the multi-day Travers-Sabine Circuit track which provides an 80 Km hiking route throughout the park.

The route continues deep into the national park, surrounded by peaks reaching up to 2000 meters and forests that completely surround it. The Department of Conservation maintains small hiking huts which are scattered all along the track.


Discover the beauty of Nelson’s sacred Blue Lake. Mighway provides a range of motor home rentals for wherever your adventure may take you!