The Mackenzie has all the ingredients of a great lakeside picnic: warm sunny days, cool pure water, and stunning views. Pack up your favourite treats and make time to relax in the high country.
This hidden gem is considered an “oasis of life” due to the wildlife that can be found there.
Tucked away among golden rolling hills, Lake Opuha offers everything from boating to tranquil campsites.
Choice spot: Just east of Fairlie, turn onto Clayton Road and travel about 10km. You will come to Monument Corner, where a war memorial stands in an intersection (can’t miss it!). Turn right and the lake is just ahead.
The stunning views of brilliant blue water with Aoraki/Mt Cook in the distance will take your breath away.
The traditional border between the Canterbury and Otago districts, Lake Ohau is cobalt blue in colour with views to the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Choice spot: Turn off State Highway 8 onto Glen Lyon Road near Twizel. Take a left after the bridge past Loch Cameron. The last kilometre is on a gravel road, then you’ll see Port Bryson with a beach and jetty.
The most family friendly of the lakes, it was constructed in the late 1970s as a recreational reserve.
Choice spot: Turn off State Highway 8 near Twizel onto Max Smith Drive then turn into the motor camp entrance. The lagoon is a lovely spot with shallow, warm waters and large pine trees for shade. There’s a swing set and toilet too.
Pure turquoise waters and mountain views are a gorgeous backdrop for a relaxing picnic.
Choice spot: Turn off State Highway 8 onto Lakeside Drive and park by the playground on the right. It’s a lovely spot with mature trees for shade and calm waters for swimming (if you can brave the cold water!). You can also walk there on the Lake Tekapo Walkway.
Need some suggestions for picnic nibbles? We’ve got that covered, too. Bon appétit!