Haven For Outdoor Recreation

Nelson Lakes National Park

Image © Shellie Evans

Haven For Outdoor Recreation

Nelson Lakes National Park was established in 1952 and as its name suggests has many lakes both big and small. The crystal clear waters of the deep lakes at this northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand reflect the immense mountain and forest scenery around them. Lake Rotoiti is a favourite place and offers hiking and mountaineering. Many of the first successful climbs of the park’s highest peaks were made by weekend adventurers from Wellington.



Thriving within the lakes of Nelson Lakes National Park is the longfin eel. The eel was an important food source for Maori. It is also a creature shrouded in mystery. In Maori culture the supernatural creature known as Taniwha is often said to be embodied in the form of the longfin eel. Eel attacks on humans have long
been reported.

Image © Jon Sullivan


European settlers stocked many of New Zealand’s rivers with trout for the purpose of sport fishing, which very quickly became a popular past time. Today trout is the only introduced animals to be legally protected within National Parks, so that they are not over-fished. Many of the rivers in Nelson Lakes National Park are stocked with trout, providing locals and visitors alike with opportunities to fish.

Image © David Lambroughton, Tourism New Zealand


A severe ecological threats to New Zealand rivers is Didymo, an exotic algal growth that clogs waterways. Once it is established it is almost impossible to remove. People using waterways, including fishers, boaters and kayakers, are required to clean any clothing or equipment they use to stop the spread of Didymo to other rivers and lakes.

Images © Fabio Salani (left), Reinderw (right)

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