Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand (with Map & Photos)

The Nelson Lakes National Park presents a beautiful environment of lakes and rivers. The gorges of the Buller River are impressive - skirt them from Lake Rotoiti. there are some viewpoints along the way and various trails that allow you to discover the caves and waterfalls without any problem. At Lake Rotoiti you can take a boat ride and swim. For anglers, the best place is Lake Rotoroa - trout abound.

Nelson Lakes National Park
Nelson Lakes National Park

A small area of ​​mountain ranges separated by forested valleys, Nelson Lakes National Park promises adventure for both hikers and climbers. It is also a fairly popular kayaking destination in New Zealand.

Nelson Lakes National Park
Nelson Lakes National Park

In Maori mythology, the lakes were created by the chieftain Rakaihaitu by digging holes with his ko (digging stick). One pit became Lake Rotoiti (low water) and the other became Lake Rotoroa (high water).

Known for its magical nectar from the beech forests that feed native birds, the park provides easy access to the wilderness. The nearby village of St Arnaud is a comfortable, well-equipped visitor base.

Nelson Lakes National Park
Nelson Lakes National Park


The spectacular landscape of Nelson Lakes National Park (Nelson Lakes) was created by massive glaciers during the last ice ages, with many glacial landforms remaining - Lakes Rotoichi and Rotoroa - two of the most prominent examples.

From January to April, the dense beech forest - the cover of the lower regions of the park shimmers with a delicate layer of nectar, filling the air with a sweet scent. Nectar - each drop balances at the end of a filamentous tube that protrudes from the trunk of a tree - created by insects that process tree sap into pure sugar. For many native birds, lizards, insects and other members of the New Zealand fauna, nectar is a source of high-energy food.

The EPA is actively working in the park to create a pest-free shelter that will support more cocoa, kakariki and robins, as well as giant snails and native bats.


The Department of Environmental Protection provides tourists with accommodation in economy, standard and service huts. The "service" class assumes the availability of sleeping places with mattresses, water supply, heating, toilet and hand washing accessories. Some of the huts also provide cooking facilities. The huts of the "standard" class have sleeping places with mattresses, toilet and water supply. Economy class huts provide overnight accommodation with limited services and facilities.

St Arnaud has a selection of motels and holiday homes, as well as two campgrounds. Lake Rotoroa has prestigious fishing lodges and a camping site.

Nelson Lakes National Park
Nelson Lakes National Park

Things to do:

Short and long walks

Hiking is the main activity in Nelson Lakes National Park. Day visitors can explore a network of short treks, enjoy lake views, birdsong, and the beauty of the local beech forests. More experienced hikers can hike to Lake Angelus - the route takes about 3 days. The Travers-Sabine route, which takes about 5 days, includes high mountains, lakes and alpine passes. If you would like to attend the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, you can take the opportunity to browse the website of our partners.

Trout fishing

The Fishing Lodges on Lake Rotoroa are a great base for those looking to enjoy brown trout fishing in the area. Many of the local bodies of water and rivers can be reached by road.


High above the village of St. Arno, there is the Rainbow Skifield, which has a type of terrain suitable for skiers and snowboarders. To keep the snow fresh and smooth, snowmaking is done at night.

Important information:

  • Visit the EPA Information Center for trekking maps.

  • To spend the night in the EPA tourist huts, you will need to purchase a ticket or pass.

  • Prepare carefully for overnight travel - in the mountains, the weather can change unexpectedly.

  • St. Arno has a small but good selection of cafes, bars and restaurants.

  • Lakes Rotoichi and Rotoroa have water taxi services for excursions to the lake or transfers to the most distant tracks.

  • In summer, daytime temperatures can reach 30 ° C. In winter, they can drop below -10 ° C (more about the climate in New Zealand ).

Nelson Lakes National Park Map