Manapouri (a 20 minute drive from Te Anau) is renowned for its variety of day and overnight walks, fishing and kayaking on the lakeshore. Anglers will find an abundant supply of Atlantic salmon, brown and rainbow trout in the lake. Manapouri is also the departure point for Doubtful Sound excursions and trips to the West Arm Power Station, the largest underground power generation in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lake Manapouri is a truly lovely lake with pristine, relective waters and 33 small islands. The Cathedral Mountain range provides a majestic background and the lake has beautiful native bush clad edges, sandy beaches and coves.
Manapouri township lies on the shores of the lake and the Waiau River and is a peaceful and relaxing place with a population of 300 people.
In the 1950's plans to flood the lake for power generation were strongly opposed and prevented by locals, who were and continue to be passionate about protecting the natural values of this special lake. Innovative planning enabled a Hydro Electric Power Station to be built at West Arm on the west side of the lake without any need to alter the lakes naturally occuring water levels. The power station at West Arm is still operating successfully under strict controls, producing clean and renwable energy. Visitors to the area can visit West Arm Power Station as part of their Doubtful Sound excursions, It is very interesting and informative.
Lake Manapouri was originally called Roto-au (the rainy lake) by early Maori and then Moturau (many islands). It is the second deepest lake in New Zealand with a circumference of 170 kilometres and at it's deepest point it measures 444 metres.
Manapouri is also popular for its day and overnight walks on the Manapouri Track, which boasts great bird life and stunning views and Includes a 4 hour walk on the Circle Track, plus overnight walks to Hope Arm and Mt Titiroa. The start of these tracks is across the Waiau river from Pearl Harbour on the edge of the Manapouri Township, row boat hire and water taxis are available to transport you over. More remote tracks around the lake include 'The Monument', 'Waterfall Walk' at Stockyard Cove, Gorgeburn Falls Track, the Kepler Track, Cone Peak, Percy's Pass, and Dusky Track and all are accessible by water taxi.
For Kayak enthusiasts paddling around parts of the lake in suitable weather is a wonderful way to experience all the remote bays and sandy beaches, listening to bird song and the gentle splash of water.