Lake Brunner, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Locations:

New Zealand - South Island - West Coast -

Moana Kotuku is what the Maori call Lake Brunner, naming it after the beautiful and rare white herons (kotuku) sometimes seen on the lake’s shores. The lake’s English name was given in memory of a 19th century British explorer, Thomas Brunner, who was awarded by the British Royal Geographical Society for his exploits of New Zealand’s South Island. Set in the West Coast region of the island, the lake is surrounded by a white granite shoreline, New Zealand forests, and the peaks of the Southern Alps that isolate the West Coast from the rest of the island.

Lake Brunner, a natural lake formed by a glacier, is a prime fishery for wild brown trout. Lake Brunner’s wilderness surroundings and distance from major towns make it a less frequented lake with low fishing pressure. But the fish are large and abundant. Approximately 250 brown trout can be found per kilometer in water that is so often clear that sight fishing is very popular with anglers who often see and stalk their targets well before catching them. Eel fishing, a traditional practice among the Maori, is also viable in the lake. The rivers and streams flowing into the lake harbor abundant trout as well and the lake’s outflow, the Arnold River, which is great for trout and salmon fishing. Whitewater rafting is another popular sport on the river if you’re looking for an adventure. The Arnold River is also a source of hydropower; the Arnold Power Station, operated by TrustPower, was commissioned in 1932.

Though Lake Brunner is relatively uncrowded throughout the year, it is a well serviced lake. Fishing gear, groceries, and a motor service center are easily accessible. Not limited to fishing, all kinds of water sports and boating can be enjoyed on the lake including a water taxi service and lake tours. Areas for picnicking on the edge of the lake provide another way to enjoy the serenity of Lake Brunner, and unique opportunities like heli-fishing or a scenic flight on a float plane will thrill any visitor. Various walks encircle the lake and meander through the area’s native timbers and flora. One challenging walk climbs to the tussock-covered top of nearby Mt. Te Kinga.

The Lake Brunner area’s pristine wild affords all types of excursions. The nearby Paparoa National Park features canyons, cliffs and limestone caves. A visit to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks is a must. These intriguing geological formations look like flattened rocks that have been piled into stacks, hence their name.

The tiny village of Moana (moana means “the deep ocean”) sits on the north end of Lake Brunner, and is one of the stops along the TranzAlpine train route. The train route is world renown for its stunning New Zealand scenes. It carries passengers from Christchurch on the East Coast past farmlands, rainforest, gorges, up and over the Southern Alps to Greymouth, a large town about 20 miles from Moana and Lake Brunner.

A lengthy stay in one of the available vacation rentals will complete your trip to this New Zealand Lake. After a day’s catch of sizeable trout on Lake Brunner, or an afternoon of exploring the rugged and fascinating creations of mother nature, come home to a cozy cottage, bungalow, or unique New Zealand bach where you can rest your weary limbs and gear up for another day of fresh experiences.

Things to do at Lake Brunner

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Picnicking
  • National Park

Fish species found at Lake Brunner

  • Brown Trout
  • Eel
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Lake Brunner Photo Gallery

Lake Brunner Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: TrustPower Limited

Surface Area: 10,151 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 289 feet

Average Depth: 180 feet

Maximum Depth: 359 feet

Water Volume: 1,833,023 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1932

Water Residence Time: 1.18 years

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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