Lake Coleridge, South Island, New Zealand

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

If you’re considering Lake Coleridge 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 Coleridge guide!

Lake Coleridge visitor and community guide

Nestled snugly between two mountain ranges and surrounded by lush green farming valleys, Lake Coleridge’s clear blue waters are a breathtaking wonder in New Zealand’s South Island. Set in the high country of the Christchurch-Canterbury region, Lake Coleridge’s freshwater basin was molded by the glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural events of New Zealand’s formation.

The lake was named after a member of the Canterbury Association and descendant of a famous English lyrical poet and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Maori, however, who would have crossed the Southern Alps looking for the precious greenstone they called pounamu, gave the lake the name Whakamatua. One of the word’s meanings, “pause,” could refer to the relief and respite the lake offered Maori visitors to its waters.

Lake Coleridge’s diverse basin is important to sheep farmers. These farmers can trace their practice to livestock-raising settlers that arrived quickly after the first Europeans came to survey New Zealand’s lands. Farm tours are available that will allow you to experience first hand not only what high country pastoral lifestyle is like, but that will also intrigue you with interesting history about the region.

The lake itself holds a large landlocked population of rare Chinook salmon, one of the three species of salmon in New Zealand. Brown trout and rainbow trout are also plentiful, and the lake supports a popular fishery. Boating and windsurfing are great pastimes on Lake Coleridge as well.

Lake Coleridge is the site of the country’s very first hydroelectric system. The power station, commissioned in 1914, is located on the glacial moraine that dams the lake and is perhaps worthy of a visit. The Lake Coleridge Power Station, operated by TrustPower, harnesses the power of the Rakaia, Harper, Acheron and Wilberforce Rivers.

Mt. Hutt, one of the mountains that sandwiches Lake Coleridge offers skiing and snowboarding in winters. Hiking, four wheel driving tours, farm stays, and garden tours are other options for complementing your visit to the lake.

Christchurch, the bustling New Zealand city, is less than an hour away. But Lake Coleridge’s arresting beauty will be enough to satiate any vacationer’s hunger for something special.

Custom Lake Coleridge house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Coleridge

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Snowboarding

Fish species found at Lake Coleridge

  • Brown Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Coleridge

The Lake Coleridge 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.

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Lake Coleridge photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Coleridge statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: TrustPower Limited

Surface Area: 11,614 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,194 feet

Maximum Depth: 656 feet

Completion Year: 1914

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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