Lake Mahinapua is a scenic reserve that offers opportunities for camping, picnicking, walking and water based activities.


Place overview


  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Mountain biking
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping
Selected DOC place
Other DOC places

Find things to do and places to stay Mahinapua Scenic Reserve

About track difficulties

      About this place

      Nature and conservation

      Canoeist on Lake Mahināpua as seen through tree ferns. Photo: P.Mounsey.
      Canoeist on Lake Mahināpua as seen
      through tree ferns

      Lake Mahināpua 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.

      Getting there

      10 km south of Hokitika on State Highway 6 turn left onto the Lake Mahināpua access road opposite the Lake Mahināpua Hotel, continue 299 metres along this gravel road which opens out to the recreation area.

      Access to the Mananui Tramline (Mahināpua Walkway) is from a signposted carpark approximately 8 km south of Hokitika on State Highway 6 or from a carpark 14 km south of Hokitika on the eastern side of lake Mahināpua 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 Mahināpua Scenic Reserve.


      Hokitika Office
      Phone:      +64 3 756 9100
      Full office details
      Back to top