Located 2km from Twizel, Lake Ruataniwha is an artificial lake that was formed between 1977-1981 as a result of the Upper Waitaki Hydroelectric project. The lake’s shallow water make it a family favourite for swimming and recreation. There are swing sets for the children to enjoy in the lagoon area. The lake is also used for yachting, canoeing and windsurfing. There is a purpose-built rowing course, famous in New Zealand for hosting the bi-annual Aon Maadi Cup rowing championships. You can also hire pedal boats, paddleboards, water bikes, kayaks and more from Water Rides, located near the Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park & Motels.
The lake is approximately 4.5km in length and covers 3.4 sq km. The colour of the lake is a bright turquoise due to glacial flour, made from extremely fine rock particles that have come from the surrounding glaciers. Lake Ruataniwha is fed by a mix of the Pukaki & Ohau Canals plus the Ohau River.
The lake typically hosts an average of 5 major rowing events a year. The New Zealand national rowing championships are held there every second year, alternating with the national secondary school rowing championships (during these the Maadi Cup is contested) The rowing course has eight lanes. The lake’s facilities can accommodate 600 rowing boats and 2,000 competitors.