It is called Blue Lake, or Rotomairewhenua. It is the clearest lake you will ever see. That is no exaggeration. It is currently the world record holder for the clearest freshwater lake in the world. Located in beautiful Nelson Lakes National Park in New Zealand, Blue Lake has a recorded visibility of up to 80 meters, which is more than 260 feet. That makes it as clear as distilled water. As you look at the pictures you will want to travel to its location and take a swim in its pristine waters, but you can’t. Read below to see some beautiful pictures and also to find out why exactly you can’t swim in these gorgeous waters.
Blue Lake is always cold, ranging between 5 and 8°C (41 – 46.4°F).
The beautiful crystal clear waters are regarded by the local Māori iwi / tribe as tapu or sacred. Because of this, humans are not permitted to enter the lake. This is a great thing since we pretty much destroy everything we touch.
Blue Lake is characterized by blue-violet hues seen only in the very clearest natural waters. The lake is spring fed from the neighboring glacial Lake Constance, but the water passes through landslide debris that forms a dam between the two lakes.
Hydrologist Rob Merrilees realized the potential for Blue Lake to be optically outstanding. He recognized it as similar to Te Waikoropupu. It was only on a visit in 2009 that they realized that the visibility of Blue Lake actually exceeded that of Te Waikoropupu. After testing the waters, it was confirmed to be the new record holder.
Although you cannot enter the lake, there are nearby huts and approximately 700 people stay in those per year.
The team that was in charge of running the tests on the lake understood its clarity, so they did the testing with special permission.
The lake is a two-day hike from the park boundary. You can also get an aerial view. There are scenic flights available with Reid Helicopters.
The clarity of the lake is being monitored to establish if there are any changes.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation asks visitors to respect the waters by not washing themselves, or their clothes and dishes in the lake.
The park in which the lake is located is home to the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project, which aims to revive populations of kiwi, along with other native birds and lizards.
Long ago, the lake was traditionally used in tribal ceremonies to cleanse the bones and release the spirits of the dead, so they could begin their journey to Hawaiki. The iwi regard its waters as sacred. Blue Lake was used only for males. Lake Constance was used for females. Its Māori name, Rotomairewhenua, meaning “the lake of peaceful lands.”
This lake is absolutely beautiful, and I’m glad that people around the world that visit are following the rules of the lake by not getting in it or cleaning any of their belongings. Over time, this would definitely ruin the clarity of this beautiful, record-holding lake. If you are ever in New Zealand, Blue Lake is definitely a must see. Even if you aren’t able to stay at one of the huts available, a helicopter tour would be memorable as well.