Lake Clearwater, South Island, New Zealand

Also known as:  Lake Tripp

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Clearwater — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Clearwater cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Clearwater

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.

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

Find Places to Stay at Lake Clearwater

If you’re considering a Lake Clearwater lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Clearwater Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Clearwater lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

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 Statistics & Helpful Links


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

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Clearwater Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Lake Clearwater Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Lake Clearwater Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Lake Clearwater Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Clearwater article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!