Lake Clearwater, South Island, New Zealand

Also known as:  Lake Tripp

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Clearwater.

If you’re considering Lake Clearwater vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Lake Clearwater guide!

Lake Clearwater visitor and community guide

When the winds are not blowing hard from off the mountains, Lake Clearwater holds images like a broad mirror. In it you can see reflections of the snow-capped Southern Alps that stretch for miles beyond under billowing clouds. No wonder this New Zealand treasure is called Lake Clearwater. The lake, in the Christchurch-Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island, is located in a remote tussock-covered mountain valley at the headwaters of the Ashburton River.

The region spans the extreme heights of the Southern Alps to the fathomless depths of dolphin and whale inhabited ocean. Lake Clearwater, which once had the name Lake Tripp, lies somewhere in between, in New Zealand high country characterized mostly by pastoral land over 2000 feet in elevation. Deer, alpaca, and sheep graze on farmlands amid the looming mountain ranges. Now part of the Hakatere Conservation Park, Lake Clearwater is a wildlife reserve for the endangered Great Crested Grebe. Many of the breeding nests for the elegant birds are signposted and often fenced off. As part of the refuge’s protective measures, only wind-powered crafts may troll on Lake Clearwater. But don’t worry, power boating is allowed on Lake Camp (once known as Lake Howard), a smaller lake just south of Lake Clearwater.

Lake Clearwater has a good rainbow trout and brown trout fishery that can pose a hard challenge in such an open valley vulnerable to strong, funnelling wind. The fish become difficult to stalk when the water surface gets choppy. But what might be less favorable conditions for fishermen are excellent circumstances for sailors, windsurfers and kiteboarders whose adventures are made with the varying temperaments of the wind. Windsurfing clinics and kiteboarding tournaments attract hosts of windlovers each year. Because the lake is shallow, it is easily warmed in the summer. For the same reason, it freezes in frigid winters.

A village of holiday homes, or baches, are popular at Lake Clearwater and offer viable options whether you are looking for vacation rentals or real estate property for purchase. These holiday baches offer long term vacations on Lake Clearwater and a whole season of mountain biking and hiking the area’s terrain, swimming, challenging trout fishing and exhilarating windsurfing.

Custom Lake Clearwater house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Clearwater

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Lake Clearwater

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Clearwater

The Lake Clearwater map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Clearwater photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Clearwater statistics & helpful links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 489 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,192 feet

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Trophic State: Oligo-mesotrophic

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