Lake Hāwea

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Lake Hāwea
Lake Hawea, New Zealand.jpg
Location Queenstown-Lakes District, Otago Region, South Island
Coordinates 44°30′S 169°17′E / 44.500°S 169.283°E / -44.500; 169.283Coordinates: 44°30′S 169°17′E / 44.500°S 169.283°E / -44.500; 169.283
Primary inflows Hunter River
Primary outflows Hāwea River
Basin countries New Zealand
Surface area 141 km2 (54 sq mi)
Max. depth 392 m (1,286 ft)
Surface elevation 348 m (1,142 ft)
Islands Silver Island
Lake Hāwea

Lake Hāwea is located in the Otago Region of New Zealand, at an altitude of 348 metres. It covers an area of some 141 km² and is, at its deepest, 392 metres deep. Its name is Māori and is thought to be named after a local tribe though the exact meaning is uncertain.

In 1958 the lake was raised artificially by 20 metres to store more water for increased hydroelectric power generation.

At its greatest extent, which is roughly along a north-south axis, the lake is 35 kilometres long. It lies in a glacial valley formed during the last ice age, and is fed by the Hunter River. Nearby Lake Wanaka lies in a parallel glacial valley eight kilometres to the west. At their closest point (a rocky ridge called The Neck), the lakes are only 1000 metres apart. Lake Hāwea is dammed to the south by an ancient terminal moraine created some 10,000 years ago.

The only flat land around the lake is at its southern end, surrounding its outflow into the Hāwea River, a short tributary of the Clutha, which it joins near Albert Town. The settlement of Hāwea is found at the lake's southern shore.

The lake is a popular resort, and is well used in the summer for fishing, boating and swimming. The nearby mountains and fast-flowing rivers allow for adventure tourism year-round, with jetboating and skiing facilities located nearby.

In pre-European history, Hāwea had an important role, when, in the 1830s the Māori residents of Hāwea brought warning to the residents of the South Island east coast of a planned attack over alpine passes by a war party of the warrior Te Puoho.

Lake Hāwea panorama

Named After it[edit]

There have been 3 Royal New Zealand Navy ships named after the lake, one of which is active still in service.

See also[edit]


  • Wise's New Zealand guide: A gazetteer of New Zealand (4th ed.) (1969) Dunedin: H. Wise & Co. (N.Z.) Ltd.
  • Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.