Sutton Salt Lake

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Sutton Salt Lake
Sutton Salt Lake 11.jpg
Location Otago, South Island
Coordinates 45°34′35″S 170°5′12″E / 45.57639°S 170.08667°E / -45.57639; 170.08667Coordinates: 45°34′35″S 170°5′12″E / 45.57639°S 170.08667°E / -45.57639; 170.08667
Basin countries New Zealand

Sutton Salt Lake in Otago, is New Zealand's only inland salt water lake.[1][2] It is located 10 kilometres west of Sutton, in the Strath Taieri.

The lake is filled only by rainwater and dries up during periods of warm weather and little rain.[3]

Sutton Salt Lake is also unique in that it lies in a region of windy cool-temperate maritime climate. This makes it different from most of the world's saline lakes, which usually form in arid continental landscapes. The total area of the lake, when the shallow depression is filled with rainwater, is nearly two hectares. The nearest coast is 50 kilometers from the lake.[4]

The area around Sutton Lake gets 500 mm of rainfall annually. Coastal hills create a minor barrier to the rain, halving the amount of rainfall that the lake receives. Strong winds increase the lake's surface evaporation rate, which is around 700 mm/year.

Sutton Salt Lake in a dry state.


  1. ^ "Sutton Salt Lake, Otago". University of Otago. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  2. ^ New Zealand also has one coastal salt water lake, Lake Grassmere, a lagoon with no direct outflow to the sea.
  3. ^ "Middlemarch - Walks". Middlemarch. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Craw, D.; et al. "Sutton Salt Lake, Otago". Department of Geology, University of Otago. Retrieved 17 February 2014.