Ten Lakes, Rivers and Waterfalls to Visit This Summer in New Zealand

waterfalls New Zealand

New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and waterfalls provide a multitude of options for summer fun, whether you are looking for a refreshing dip, a relaxing stroll along the riverside, or just a moment to reflect.

Huka Falls, Taupo

Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most photographed and visited natural attraction. The Waikato River narrows to 100m, then drops to a slim 15m width. It flows at 220,000 litres/second and plunges from 11m. Although the river is not swimmable, bridges, lookout points, and other trails allow you to see the river’s watery action. You can also view the river from various viewpoints.

Mirror Lakes, Fiordland

Mirror Lakes, located on Fiordland’s Milford Road, is a great place to stretch your legs while you drive to the famous Milford Sound. These small lakes offer outstanding photo opportunities, with stunning views of the Earl Mountains, water fowl, and wetland plant against a backdrop dominated by beech forest.

Owharoa Falls, Coromandel

Owharoa Falls is a series of three-tiered waterfalls. They are located near the Karangahake Gorge’s riverside walks. The first and third waterfalls can be accessed easily and are popular swimming spots for locals. However, the pools can be prone to strong currents and underwater snags as well as slippery rocks and deep holes so be careful if you decide to take the plunge.

Rakaia River, Mid Canterury

There are plenty of bright-blue braided rivers in South Island. However, you can also fish for salmon on the Rakaia River. Jetboats are a great way to get adrenaline pumping. You’ll have amazing views of the mountains, learn about the geological features, and enjoy a lot of thrills.

Kaimai Spring, Bay of Plenty

Near the Kaimai Ranges’ summit, the Kaimai Spring has clean, fresh water all year. It is a popular stop for tourists to refill their water bottles. It is located approximately 30m from the sign ‘Welcome To the Western Bay’. The spring is on the Tauranga side of this range so it can be claimed by the Bay of Plenty. You can also find waterfalls, streams and pools in the Kaimai Ranges.

Clutha River in Otago

New Zealand’s largest river, the Clutha River, is also the fastest in terms of volume. The Clutha River runs through historical gold mining country. It was once home to 187 gold-dredges, where prospectors made their fortunes. You can ride along the Clutha Gold Trail, which follows a combination of riverside paths as well as an old railway line, today.

Lake Okataina in Rotorua

Okataina is the jewel in Rotorua’s crown. The water is extremely cold and clear, as it is mainly fed underground from Lake Rotoiti. The lake is completely surrounded by bush-clad hills, with only one beach accessible by boat or foot. It is quite beautiful and tranquil.

Oakley Creek Waterfall, Auckland

The Oakley Creek Waterfall is one of Auckland’s most secretive places. It’s located in the valley near Mount Albert’s Unitec campus. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone not swimming in the oakley creek waterfall on hot days.

Virginia Lake, Whanganui

Whanganui is the city known for its beautiful gardens. Virginia Lake is a public park that is part of Whanganui. You can walk for 25 minutes around the lake through forests and gardens. The 25-minute walk around the lake passes through forests and gardens.

Glenorchy, Dart River

Glenorchy is home to stunning, glacier-fed waterways. Trampers can depart here for some of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks. The Dart river can be explored by jet-boat. You can duck, weave, and swerve through the maze of channels, islets, and braided rivers. You can also take a Funyak, a stable and very comfortable type of short kayak, to explore the canyon in Mount Aspiring National Park.