Lake Pukaki is one of the 3 lakes I visited in New Zealand that were all more majestic than the other and this is were we set up our camp for one night to remember… the view was so peaceful, the sky full of stars and the sunrise so… I let you discover!
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - CAMPING AT LAKE PUKAKI
Lake Pukaki is one of the magnificient glacier lakes in South New Zealand. This is my favorite as it had viws of Mount Cook and incredible reflections of snowy and less snowy mountains. We were lucky to arriver under a beautiful blue sky to set up camp for what was the most incredible night I had in New Zealand.
There are several spots where you can freedom camp around the lake. However there is a reserve just before the bridge at the end of the lake where you can find parking and ample spots to settle. Below is a map with the location. This is an overnight campground where you can normally stay only one night. There are drop toilet hidden in the pines (some people on the Internet say there are not, but I have been so I can assure you that there are toilets ). But you have to climb the hill if you set up near the lake for the views.
It is considered one of the best spots to camp in New Zealand and I agree, those views are incredible.
Planning to rent a car in New Zealand? Check out the local company Snap Rentals
I selected it myself and paid my rental in full.
- They are not at the airport itself, but they come to pick you up and drop you off
- They were very nice and responsive, the car was in perfect condition.
- In addition, they have all-inclusive insurance packages with AAA roadside assistance, which means I didn't have to worry (I think it's worth the price)
SETTING UP CAMP AT LAKE PUKAKI
When our bus pulled over at the campsite, the excitement level of the group rose very high. We had such a beatutiful blue sky that we got to take in all the details of this magical location. The site is right next to the lake, andyou also have amazing views of Aoraki / Mount Cook 70 kilometres away.
First task was to set up the tents. Some set up camp just next to the water on the rocks (those have no back problem, I assume…) and others near the cliff (those were not somnambule I hope…). Personnaly I selected a nice safe patch of grass to build my tent in this magical environment.
SUNSET AT LAKE PUKAKI
The lake is fed by water florwing fro the galcier which gives it that incredible blue colour. After diner, I sat down and enjoyed the sunset. It was nothing dramatic as there were no clouds and the moon appeared. But the experience of sitting there and admiring the subtle changes in colours of the lanscape is one of my ebst memories of New Zealand. Mount cook even turned a little bit red.
Once everyone had crawled into their tents and the night was darker, I set up my tripod and enjoyed the stars. I tried doing some night photography but was not very successful. The moon was quite bright and aligned with Mount cook and the lake so I shot a tent instead 🙂
SUNRISE AT LAKE PUKAKI
After a peaceful night in this stunning landscape, we all made the effort to wake up earlyto enjoy the sunrise (not the same behavior as when I was almost alone to enjoy a colorful sunrise). Sadly the clouds were very low and we could not even see Mount Cook any more. However I still sat near the lake to enjoy it as the scene was extremely serene and almost surreal the water turning white:
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