Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand

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Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand. It is in the southwest corner of the Otago Region, near its boundary with Southland. Lake Wakatipu comes from the original Maori word Whakatipu wai-maori.

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

With a length of 80 kilometres (50 mi), it is New Zealand's longest lake, and, at 291 km² (112 sq mi), its third largest. The lake is also very deep, its floor being below sea level, with a maximum depth of 380 metres (1,250 ft). It is at an altitude of 310 metres (1,020 ft), towards the southern end of the Southern Alps. The general topography is a reversed "N" shape or "dog leg".

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Dart River flows into the northern end, the lake then runs south for 30 kilometres before turning abruptly to the east. Twenty kilometres (12.4 mi) further along, it turns sharply to the south, reaching its southern end 30 kilometres (19 mi) further south, near Kingston.

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

The lake is drained by the Kawarau River, which flows out from the lake's Frankton Arm, 8 km (5.0 mi) east of Queenstown. Until about 18,000 years ago the Mataura River drained Lake Wakatipu. The Kingston Flyer follows part of the former river bed now blocked by glacial moraine . Queenstown is on the northern shore of the lake close to eastern end of its middle section. It has a seiche of period 26.7 minutes which, in Queenstown Bay, causes the water level to rise and fall some 200 millimetres (7.9 in).

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu is renowned for its scenic beauty, being surrounded by mountains. The Remarkables mountain range lies along its southeastern edge. It is a popular venue for adventure tourism, with skifields, paragliding, bungy jumping and tramping tracks within easy reach. A vintage steamboat, the TSS Earnslaw regularly plies its waters. Several vineyards are nearby in the Gibbston Valley.

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand
Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu doubled as the famous Scottish Loch Ness in the 2007 film The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Lake Wakatipu has many geographical similarities to 'Loch Ness' and was chosen as one of the main filming locations in the movie. It is a backdrop for several scenes in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, including Amon Hen.

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