Nature and conservation
Canoeist on Lake Mahinapua as seen through tree ferns
Lake Mahinapua is one of the finest spots around Hokitika for a day out or a quiet afternoon.
The scenic reserve was gazetted in 1907 and provides a forested margin around the lake. The lake was once a coastal lagoon, but with the build up of coastal dune systems, became a shallow inland lake.
Black swans, grey and mallard ducks are all common on the lake, while the rare bittern and seasonal white herons can occasionally be seen. Flax and rushes dominate the vegetation on the lake edge providing sheltered sites for swans and the ducks to breed. The shy fern bird can also at times be heard and sometimes seen flitting amongst these swampy wetland areas.
The surrounding bush is a mix of podocarps and hardwood species such as miro, matai, totara, rimu and kahikatea closer to the lake, with sub-canopy species such as kamahi, mahoe and quintinia being common. These tree species provide an important seasonal food supply for some of the birds found here; parakeets, tui, bellbird, pigeon.
10 km south of Hokitika on State Highway 6 turn left onto the Lake Mahinapua access road opposite the Lake Mahinapua Hotel, continue 299 m along this gravel road which opens out to the recreation area.
Access to the Mananui Tramline (Mahinapua Walkway) is from a signposted carpark approximately 8 km south of Hokitika on SH6 or from a carpark 14 km south of Hokitika on the eastern side of lake Mahinapua on the Ross-Rimu road from Hokitika.
The walk can be done from either direction.
Know before you go
Dogs are not permitted in the Mahinapua Scenic Reserve.