Lake Pukaki

A true natural wonder

A shimmering blue jewel set against a backdrop of Aoraki/Mt Cook was used as surrounding setting in the movies ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies.

Lake Pukaki is a bright turquoise jewel in the heart of the Mackenzie District in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. Nestled under the shadow of the highest peak in the country – the magnificent Aoraki/Mount Cook, Lake Pukaki is the largest lake of three roughly parallel alpine lakes in the area.

Named among the world’s clearest by Condé Nast Traveler, Lake Pukaki pure distinctive turquoise hues, coupled with the sharp alpine peaks originally got the attention of Sir Peter Jackson for major location scenes in ‘The Lord of the Rings and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies.

The turquoise colour of Lake Pukaki is due to glacial flour made from extremely fine rock particles that have come from the surrounding glaciers. The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Tasman River, which has its source in the Hooker and Tasman Glaciers. When the sun hits the surface of the lake, it reflects off the particles transforming it to a brilliant blue.

The combination of the magnificent lake, surrounding peaks and wide open skies are a dream for photographers. Lake Pukaki’s spectacular vista can be enjoyed by car with stop-offs for photographs at the various look out points.

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Mackenzie District
Twizel and Lake Tekapo Village


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