Lake Wanaka, New Zealand’s fourth largest lake is located in the Otago region of the South Island. It covers some 47,000 acres with its deepest point 311m. Lake Wanaka lies in a valley formed via glacial erosion during the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. Now a days Lake Wanaka is a popular resort town and is used during summer for fishing, boating and swimming. The nearby snow-capped mountains and fast flowing rivers allow for year round adventure tourism activities from skiing facilities to jet boating and canyoning.
Lake Wanaka is fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers, and is the source of the Clutha River. The Clutha River is the largest swiftest river in New Zealand and the second longest. It flows 338 kilometers through Central and South Otago where it enters the Pacific Ocean. River swiftness is measured via the unit of cumecs, this measures the amount of water flowing pasta single point with 1 cumec measuring 1000L of water per second. The Wanaka end of the Clutha River averages around 300 cumecs (300,000L per second) with the Pacific end having measured in excess of 4,600 cumecs (4,600,00L per second).
The Clutha River is known for its scenery, gold rush history and swift clear turquoise water. The rivers water colours are due to a specific mix of minerals in the water. These minerals are silica and mica which are collected as rainfall and snow melt makes its way down the mountains. This clear turquoise colour continues down the Clutha River to about Lake Dunstan, here 2 water bodies meet the Clutha and the milky coloured Kawara River coming from Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown).
Lake Wanaka and the Clutha River offering some amazing scenery, meaning it is very popular with photographers. A popular track for stunning views is the Millennium Track starting at Glendhu Bay and following the shoreline of Lake Wanaka and the Clutha River. If you have time this is a great track to bike or walk to see exactly what Wanaka offers.