Lake Waihola, South Island, New Zealand

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

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Looking for Lake Waihola 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 Waihola

Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Waihola is situated in a quiet region that makes a peaceful retreat. Almost 4 miles long, the lake is very shallow which is reflected in its name. In the language of the Maori, the earliest known people in the area, Waihora means “spreading waters.”

In the 1860’s hopeful prospectors traveled across Lake Waihola on a paddle-steamer to reach Gabriel’s Gulley a gold mining boom town. Today, the area is a popular site for scientific research on the freshwater tidal system and the ecosystems that call the area home. The wetlands that surround the lake, internationally known as Sinclair Wetlands, are protected for the many species of wading birds and black swans that live here and is a popular bird watching site.

The small town of Waihola is located on the eastern shores of the lake. Here visitors will make their base at vacation rentals throughout the area to enjoy all the fun and beauty of the region. Lake Waihola offers beaches, swimming, sailing, kayaking, boating, yachting, waterskiing, rowing and fishing for brown trout, sea trout, and perch. Many hiking trails are around the lake, up into the bush, or up the hills to find stunning views of the lake. Sports enthusiasts will want to take advantage of opportunities to play golf, tennis, cricket, and curling. Horse back riding, cart riding, and four wheel vehicles offer alternative ways to explore the history of the area to see old buildings and fossils.

Lake Waihola is located in the Central Otago tourism region of New Zealand. Central Otago’s geography consists of ancient mountains, rock formations, herb fields, and fast rivers and lakes. The area was the scene of the 1860’s gold rush and remnants of that era are still popular stops for visitors and include stone cottages, a haunted hotel, water channels, mines, and machinery used by the miners. Local agriculture is becoming a world renowned treasure. Apricots and cherries are bountiful and are the region’s specialty. However, the last few years have seen wineries increase and excel as the region is known as the world’s most southerly wine producer with a specialty of Pinot Noir. Vacation rentals are available for all budgets and range from hotels, motels, camping, lodges, bed and breakfast inns, and rooms at local farms.

Looking for a quiet destination with water fun, world renowned wines, and panoramic beauty? Lake Waihola will meet and surpass all of your expectations. Start planning your excursion today.

Things to Do at Lake Waihola

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding

Fish Species Found at Lake Waihola

  • Brown Trout
  • Perch
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Waihola

If you’re considering a Lake Waihola 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 Waihola Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Waihola 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 Waihola Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,224 acres

Water Volume: 5,909 acre-feet

Trophic State: Supertrophic

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 Waihola 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


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