New Zealand’s Deepest Lake
Hauroko means “the soughing of the wind”. At 462 metres deep, this is New Zealand’s deepest lake. The Wairaurahiri River leaves Lake Hauroko and flows through the Waitutu Forest to the South Coast. Accessed from the Lillburn Valley Road, Lake Hauroko is signposted from Clifden. There are varied recreational opportunities in the area and commercial operators to help you explore. The Wairaurahiri River is the steepest river in New Zealand to be navigated by commercial jet-boat operators.
The small island on the lake (Mary Island) is the focus of several local myths, including one that the island is subject to a Māori curse. The island is famous for the discovery of a burial site of a Māori woman in 1967, who is known as “the lady of the lake” by Southland locals.
To get to Lake Hauroko from Tuatapere, head north towards Clifden (12km, 10 min), and turn west along the Lillburn Valley Road to Lake Hauroko (about 36km to the carpark, 20km of which is unsealed road).
Jet Boat Lake to Coast
If adventure sport is your thing then unleash the adrenalin on a jet boat ride across Lake Hauroko and down the Wairaurahiri River to the southern coast. The Wairaurahiri River is 27km of rugged rock strewn grade three rapids that drops 200m to sea level. These conditions make a ride on a jet boat down the Wairaurahiri River incredibly fast and exhilarating. Lake Hauroko jet boat operators include Wairaurahiri Jet (W Jet) and Humpridge Jet.
Lake Hauroko Track
An easy 20-40-minute 1.1km loop track passing along the shore of Lake Hauroko.
The trail loops through the bush, with good examples of native trees like silver and mountain beech, rimu, matai, and totara. Sandy beaches along the lake with good views of Fiordland National Park. The track can be muddy but is suitable for people of all fitness levels.
Lake Hauroko Lookout Track
This 2.9km (4 hour return) track is for the more advanced trampers and includes a steep and challenging climb to the very rewarding lookout at the top. The walk is advanced so it is recommended trampers have good fitness and high-level back-country experience. Learn more here.