The Sacred Waters Of The Blue Lake Is A New Zealand Treasure

the blue lake of new zealand
Photo credit: Greg Balley at flickr cc


I have always loved beautiful images of crystal blue water. When I came across photos of the Blue Lake in New Zealand, it captivated me and I wanted to share them. Located in the South Island in Nelson Lakes National Park, it is the clearest lake in the world. Water flows in from Lake Constance, with a natural dam filtering any debris. The area is surrounded by mountains and forest, making for a breathtaking landscape. The violet blue color and clarity has drawn many visitors to the site, and scientists from the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research confirmed in 2011 that the lake has the clearest water on the planet. The visual depth is over 80 meters, making for some amazing images.

The Waters of a Peaceful Land

Part of the reason that the Blue Lake has maintained its stunning color and quality is the conservation efforts behind it. Swimming in the lake is prohibited, and the area is fairly restricted. In 2013, a Danish photojournalist named Klaus Thymann was given permission to go into the water and take photos of its depth and clarity. The results are amazing: you can see from the surface to the floor, which is covered with algae. It is as clear as distilled water, and is very chilly. Its position on the mountain keeps it free of particles and animals. It is not just the New Zealand government who want the lake protected, but the Maori indigenous people as well.

The Blue Lake is tapu, or sacred, to them. It lies within a tribal area, and the water is a part of their heritage. Known as Rotomairewhenua, or the lake of peaceful lands, it was used to cleanse bones of deceased men. The bones of women were cleansed in Lake Constance. Spirits were released in a ceremony, and the water linked generations together. Maori mythology is connected with the land, and there are many legends around Nelson Lakes. Kiley Nepia, cultural manager for Ngati Apa kit e Ra To, said of the lake, “When you arrive there you get this real sense of serenity. It is an isolated location but you can almost feel the love that they would have carried those types of rituals out in.”

Visitors to the Blue Lake feel the same way. Taking in the views draws awe and wonder, and Nelson Lakes National Park is a popular spot on many travel sites. The park is a fun destination for many activities like hiking, rafting, and camping. It is a great place to get away, explore, and enjoy nature. You can admire the water from the shores or see it from a helicopter flight. The whole area is an ecological oasis, and a great example of conservation in the face of climate change.

Images to Inspire and Conserve

You can see photos of the Blue Lake on the Freshwater Project, which documents bodies of water around the world. This type of beauty and purity in the environment is something so important to preserve. I have always loved marine life, especially when it can be captured in such good quality. I was so glad to find these images as they inspire, and raise awareness about such cherished habitats. It is an isolated place, and whose vivid color makes it seem almost mystical. Being a part of tribal land, people have respected it and allowed the area to thrive. If you are ever in New Zealand, Nelsons Lake National Park is a great place to enjoy recreational activities. If you are willing to make the hike, the Blue Lake is an amazing ecological wonder.

About the Author

Gina Merlino is a freelance writer who cares about environmental issues. She has a Bachelor's in Philosophy, a Master's in Engaged Humanities, and is an avid reader of the news. You can find me on Twitter.