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Nelson Lakes National Park

New Zealand
New Zealand (General)
Type of Location
Wildlife Safari
About Location

A compact area of mountain ranges separated by forested valleys, the Nelson Lakes National Park promises all levels of challenge for keen hikers and mountaineers.

In Maori mythology the lakes were created by the great chief Rakaihaitu digging holes with his ko (digging stick). One hole became Lake Rotoiti (small waters) and the other became Lake Rotoroa (large waters).

Known for its magical honeydew beech forests, which feed a variety of tuneful nectar-eating native birds, the park provides an easy wilderness escape. The nearby village of St Arnaud is a comfortable, well-equipped base for visitors.


How to Reach

By plane

Nelson Airport is  of the busier in the country with Air New Zealand nd Air There providingscheduled services. Flight Corporation offer scenic flights including flights to Abel Tasman National Park, to airstrips in Golden Bay and to Karamea, the end of the Heaphy Track.
Abel Tasman Air flies from Motueka Airport and offers charter flights around the region.
The Takaka airstrip has scheduled flights from Wellington on Capital Air as well as charter airlines

By bus

Buses and Shuttlesin and out of the region in the main follow State Highway 6. Southern Link K Bus travel Christchurch - Murchison - St Arnaud - Wakefield - Richmond - Nelson. Nelson Lakes Shuttles pecialise in providing transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on demand and scheduled services to St Arnaud and between Picton, Blenheim, Murchison as well as other tramping destinations further afield.

By car

From the east, State Highway 6 is the main route leading from Blenheim (and Picton) through Renwick, Havelock and the Rai Valley before reaching Nelson. State Highway 6 continues south through Richmond, Wakefield, Murchison and on to Westport and the West Coast. State Highway 63 starts at Renwick and leads to St Arnaud before rejoining State Highway 6 at Kawatiri Junction

Key places to visit
Nelson Lakes National Park, Snow skiing, Trout fishing, The Buller


Places to Visit

Nelson Lakes National Park

The northernmost Southern Alps, tranquil beech forests, craggy mountains, clear streams, fields of tussock and alpine flora. Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa areas are popular for tramping, fishing, skiing, boating and birdwatching. The Department of Conservation is actively involved in a nature recovery project and more details are illustrated on signs in the area.

The Buller

A rugged and scenic river providing some of the best kayaking and rafting in the country. It flows from Lake Rotoiti through rugged mountainous country to the Tasman Sea on the West Coast. The forest on the valley sides is mainly beech with some rimu and rata.

Snow skiing

High above the village of St Arnaud is the Rainbow Skifield, which offers every type of terrain for skiers and snowboarders. To keep the snow fresh and smooth, snowmaking is done through the night. Non-members are always welcome.

Trout fishing

The 1920s fishing lodge at Lake Rotoroa makes an elegant base for those who want to pursue the legendary brown trout of the area. Many of the local streams and rivers are accessible by road.

Right Time to Visit

Information not available


November - January -> 16(°C) - Summer


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