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Lake Hauroko: The Deepest Lake In New Zealand

One of the major attractions in Fiordland National Park is Lake Hauroko – the deepest lake in NZ. The Lake Hauroko Lookout Track, an outstanding day trek, is located in this wonderful little off-the-beaten-track location. Although it’s a little difficult, the breathtaking vistas make it well worth it. Learn more by continuing to read!

1. Lake Hauroko: The Deepest Lake In NZ


One of the southernmost and deepest lakes in New Zealand is Lake Hauroko. The S-shaped lake is 30 km long and 63 km wide, and its surface is 150 m above sea level. However, its most notable feature is that it is 462 m deep. It is sandwiched between the Poteriteri and Monowai lakes of comparable size, and it empties into Foveaux Strait through the 20 km long Wairaurahiri River.

Numerous commercial jet-boat operators offer tours on the Wairaurahiri River, the steepest navigable river in New Zealand. It is a 27-kilometer stretch of rough, rocky grade three rapids that descends 200 meters to the sea. Ride a jet boat across Lake Hauroko and down the thrilling Wairaurahiri River to the southern coast to let your adrenaline flow.

Jet boating is only one of several recreational options available nearby, along with fishing and other water sports. Around the lake, there are straightforward walking paths as well as access to longer, more challenging tramping trails.

2. What does the name of Lake Hauroko mean?

The English translation of the Mori name Hauroko is “the soughing of the wind.”

3. Maori story near the lake


There are two islands in Lake Hauroko: Mary Island, which is larger, and a smaller island towards the lake’s southern end. Mary Island is well-known for the 1967 discovery of a Mori woman’s burial site in a cave on the island’s eastern side.

The woman, said to have been buried there sometime before 1660, was seated upright on a stick bier while dressed in a linen cloak. She was later identified as a chieftainess of the Ngati Moimoi tribe by archaeological research. Even though the woman will not be affected, the burial is still on the island, protected from view by a mesh grille.

4. Camping near the lake

On the route to Lake Hauroko, Thick Burn Campground can be found at the Fiordland National Park entrance.

5. Lake Hauroko hike

Bushwalk around Lake Hauroko

(Return 40 minutes)

A simple circle trek skirts a marshy area near Lake Hauroko from the parking lot. In the drier locations, mountain beech replaces the more common matai, totara, and rimu trees.

Massive Totara Walk

(30-minute round trip)

Dean Forest’s Lillburn Monowai Road is clearly marked from the Lillburn Valley Road. Some of the oldest and largest totara trees in Southland, some of which are over a thousand years old, may be found along this lovely little stroll. There has never been logging in this small area of woodland.

Lake Hauroko Lookout

(4 hours roundtrip)


Before ascending sharply to the overlook, the track next to the jetty runs along the lake’s shore. On a clear day, the Takitimu Mountains to the east, Lake Hauroko to the south, the Foveaux Strait to the south, and the Princess and Kaherekoau Maintains to the northwest are all breathtakingly visible. Although difficult and steep, this path is well worth the effort.

  • Warning: You will require good physical condition, moderate to high-level backcountry (remote places) abilities, and expertise, including navigation and survival skills, for this tramping route.

6. Tips for Lake Hauroko Lookout

  • Don’t just wear your new pair of street shoes; instead, dress appropriately. The best options are hiking boots or shoes that are comfy for walking and that you don’t mind getting muddy. It’s one of those trails where you need to pay attention to every step since there are always rocks or tree roots to avoid.
  • Sand flies should be avoided; while there were quite a few by the lake, they diminished as we ascended. If you have repellant, bring it, else spend less time in the lower levels.
  • Observe patience: It should take 3–4 hours to complete the Lake Hauroko Lookout Track. However, it’s better not to rush on a muddy track like this.

7. How to get to Lake Hauroko


Lake Hauroko lies far from Milford Road, which is home to the majority of the top attractions in Fiordland National Park. From Te Anau, in the opposite direction of Milford Road, it takes around one hour. The road is in decent shape but turns to gravel at the end. Drive carefully because it appears like logging trucks utilize the initial portion of this road.

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