Even among New Zealand’s bountiful supply of beautiful lakes, Lake Manapouri shines, its long, indented shoreline contorted into three distinct arms and clad with thick bush tangled with ferns. The lake sits at 178m and has a vast catchment area, guzzling all the water that flows down the Upper Waiau River from Lake Te Anau and unwittingly creating a massive hydroelectric generating capacity – something that almost led to its downfall (see Milford Sound cruises and activities).

The small village of Manapouri, 20km south of Te Anau, wraps prettily around the shores of the lake at the head of the Waiau River, which the hydroelectric shenanigans have turned into a narrow arm of the lake now known as Pearl Harbour.

Apart from cruises and kayak trips, the only thing to do in Manapouri is to saunter along a few minor walks: accommodation and eating options are very limited.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks are dotted with wildlife and beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every co…

07 Mar 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
Video: the world's friendliest cities

Video: the world's friendliest cities

Which cities are going to welcome you with open arms? Where will the locals be likely to buy you a beer, and who's going to invite you in for tea when it's cold…

10 Oct 2014 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month