Lake Hayes

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Lake Hayes
Te Whakaata a Hakitekura
Lake Hayes from the Queenstown Trail
Lake Hayes from the Queenstown Trail
Location of Lake Hayes
Location of Lake Hayes
Lake Hayes
LocationCentral Otago, South island
Coordinates44°59′S 168°48′E / 44.983°S 168.800°E / -44.983; 168.800Coordinates: 44°59′S 168°48′E / 44.983°S 168.800°E / -44.983; 168.800
Lake typeGlacial lake
Native nameTe Whakaata a Hakitekura (Māori)
Primary inflowsMill Creek
Primary outflowsHayes Creek
Catchment area44 km2 (17 sq mi)
Basin countriesNew Zealand
Surface area2.76 km2 (1.07 sq mi)
Max. depth33 m (108 ft)
Surface elevation315 m (1,033 ft)

Lake Hayes is a small lake in the Wakatipu Basin in Central Otago, in New Zealand's South Island. It is located close to the towns of Arrowtown and Queenstown.

The southern end of the lake is close to State Highway 6, while the western side is bordered by Slope Hill. The main area for access to the lake is the northern end which has a large grassed area for recreation activities.

The Lake Hayes Showgrounds which have a pavilion and parking area has an annual show called The Lake Hayes A&P Show.

The nearby large residential sub-division of Lake Hayes Estate is just across the main highway and takes its name from Lake Hayes.

A track called the Lake Hayes Circuit[1] runs around the lake and forms part of The Queenstown Trail and is popular for use by walkers, runners and cyclists.

View from the north shore looking southwest across Lake Hayes towards Cecil Peak


The local Māori iwi (tribe) of Kai Tahu originally named the lake Te Whaka-ata [2] or Te Whaka-ata a Haki-te-kura after an ancestress called Haki-te-kura whose image was said to be reflected in the lake.[3]

Settlers originally knew the lake as Hays Lake after D. Hay, an Australian who came to the district looking for sheep country in 1859. Its name gradually changed to Lake Hayes, as its discovery was credited erroneously to Captain "Bully" Hayes, an early local character of the district.[4]


Birdlife that can be seen on the lake include the introduced mallard, feral goose, the native New Zealand scaup, Australasian crested grebe and the black shag.

Exotic fish in the lake that can be taken recreationally include brown trout and perch, while native fish include upland bully, koaro and long-finned eel.[5]


  1. ^ "Lakes Hayes Circuit". Maps & Rides. Queenstown Trail. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Lake Hayes". Kā Huru Manu. Nga Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Lake Hayes Management Strategy". QLDC. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  4. ^ "THE EXPLORATION OF NEW ZEALAND". The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection. Victoria University of Wellington.
  5. ^ "Lake Hayes Management Strategy (pg iii)" (PDF). Queenstown Lakes District Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.