Lake Wakatipu

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Overview

Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake located in the South Island; it is the third largest lake, measuring at 291km2 (112 sq miles), and the longest at 80 kilometres (50 miles), in New Zealand. Lake Wakatipu is at an altitude of 310 metres (1,020 ft), bordered by tall mountains, the highest is Mt. Earnslaw (2,819 metres), on all sides; and the Remarkables, a mountainous range with popular alpine ski fields which lie along its South-eastern border. The Dart River flows into the lake at the Northern end, and then flows south for 30 kilometres (18.64 miles) before making a sudden turn towards the East. At 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), the lake turns abruptly to the south meeting the southern end 30 kilometres (19 miles) further south, toward the village of Kingston. Drained by the Kawarau River, Lake Wakatipu flows out from its Frankton Arm, 8 kilometres (5.0 miles) east of Queenstown. Queenstown, a popular resort town, is located on the northern shores of the lake, which is close to the eastern end of the middle section. The lake floor has a depth of at least 100 metres (330 feet) below sea level. The movement of water is 26.7 minutes in which the level rises and falls 200 millimetres (7.9 inches) in Queenstown Bay. Maori legend associates this with Matau, a huge monster whose heartbeat causes this phenomenon to occur, as it slumbers at the bottom of the lake. Naturally shaped like a lightning bolt and bordered by the Remarkables, scenic Wakatipu Lake is popular amongst the adventure tourists. Pristine ski-fields, paragliding, bungy jumping, eco-tourism, scenic flights, rafting, trout fishing, swimming, hiking, heli-skiing, and wine trails are activities that can be enjoyed year round, and located in close proximity to the lake. The TSS Earnslaw (a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steam boat), a New Zealand icon, cruises the lake daily. With its 12 metre bright red funnel, white hull and kauri timber decks the steamer is a familiar sight as it meanders through the lakes waters.
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Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, Otago (Direction)

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