Kayaking Lake Wanaka

On Monday, four members of the Wanaka Crew spent a couple hours kayaking on Lake Wanaka.  What a blast!  Photo credits go to Alys, Danella, and Joanna as I left my camera and phone on shore.  Information about Lake Wanaka was taken from various online sources.

Lake Wanaka covers an area of 192 km2 (74 sq mi) and is New Zealand’s fourth largest lake.  It is estimated to be more than 300 m (980 ft) deep.  The clarity of the water is remarkable, especially to one who is used to the New River and Claytor Lake, which are full of organic matter.  The name Wanaka is Maori and means ‘The place of Anaka’, a local tribal chief.

At its greatest extent, which is roughly along a north-south axis, the lake is 42 k / 26 miles long. Its widest point, at the southern end, is 10 k / 6 miles.  The lake’s western shore is lined with high peaks rising to over 2000 metres / 6500 ft above sea level.

Wanaka lies in a u-shaped valley formed by glacial erosion during the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. It is fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers, and is the source of the Clutha River. Nearby Lake Hawea lies in a parallel valley carved by a neighbouring glacier.

We rented the kayaks from Paddle Wanaka, and while they did not provide much instruction or information (thank goodness I am not a novice!), they did encourage us to paddle out to Ruby Island.

Ruby Island – photo credit: Me!

We put in along the beach of Wanaka’s town center and paddled past an area of construction.  This tourist town is rapidly growing as evidenced by several new areas of development.

It took us about an hour to paddle out to the island.  Ruby Island has a boat jetty, a picnic table, and even a toilet (the word restroom is infrequently used here).  Our happy group posed in front of the Ruby Island sign.


Joanna took this great shot looking back out across the lake to our put in.

Other than a slight sunburn, it was a glorious day on the lake!

28 thoughts on “Kayaking Lake Wanaka

  1. It’s just stunningly beautiful. I have never tried anything on a lake but my daughter really wants to try kayaking. That takes a bit of muscle I would no longer have. It does look like fun. The lake looks incredible. Cameras and even cell phones need to stay on dry land or at the very least in waterproof containers. You got good shots anyway.

    • We were so fortunate to have such beautiful weather for this outing! What a glorious day it was.
      Kayaking is so much fun and I encourage your daughter to try it.

    • It really was. I wish we could have packed up a lunch and stayed out longer. Having said that, I’m grateful for the time we did have. Stunningly beautiful place and such clear water!

    • Thank you. If you get a chance to look at the post about the winery, you’ll see some that I am even more proud of. It’s been so great to have time with the camera!

    • Goodness, that was a scary thing! So glad that you were there, Pauline.
      And Danella’s photos added so much to my enjoyment of the day!

  2. Oh the island looks so tempting! I would have HAD to paddle to it!! This looks like so much fun. I’m glad you had kayaking companions to lighten the paddle. What a gorgeous place…

    • Hi Lisa! So good to hear from you. I’m so glad that we were able to get out on that lake. I’m telling you, that water is so clear! Just incredible

  3. Fantastic photo’s once again. It’s too bad you can’t really see via the photo’s how far that paddle to the island really was, because it looked crazy far, so kudo’s to all. That rental company might want to think up a wee little presentation. You all are responsible adults, so no worries. But what about a bunch of kids? Pretty relaxed and easy going here 😀 xo

    • Definitely relaxed and easy going … and when it comes to dogs in restaurants, I’m all over that!
      Yet another word that I want to take home with me: wee. As in a wee presentation, a wee bit of shopping, or a wee glass of wine (well, actually, I’d never want a wee glass of wine 🙂 )

  4. Pingback: A Pause in the Story | Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

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