Mavora Lakes Conservation Park: Places to go in Southland

Mavora Lakes
Image: Shellie Evans ©


Mavora Lakes Park is an impressive landscape of mountains, lakes, forest and tussock grassland, recognised as part of the Te Wāhipounamu/South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area.


All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to use a drone on conservation land

The Mavora Lakes consist of two lakes named North Mavora and South Mavora. They are situated amongst an impressive landscape of mountains, lakes, forest and tussock grassland.

It is a popular camping area during summer, with opportunities for fishing, boating, four-wheel driving, hunting, horse trekking, mountain biking and tramping.

The Mavora - Greenstone Walkway is a 50 km, four day tramping trip linking the Mavora Lakes camping area with the Greenstone Track. It passes through open valley tussock land and beech forested hill country.

The park was used as a filming location for some scenes in the Lord of the Rings film series: Nen Hithoel, Silverlode and Anduin rivers, Fangorn Forest edge and South of Rivendell - see Lord of the Rings filming locations.

Place overview


  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Four wheel driving
  • Horse riding
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Mavora Lakes Conservation Park

About track difficulties
About track difficulties
About hut categories


The Mararoa River between the lakes and below the South Mavora Lake provides good canoeing. You can go sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and rafting on both lakes. Motorised craft are allowed only on the North Mavora Lake. Hovercraft and jet skis are not permitted on either lake.

Navigation safety bylaws enforced by Environment Southland, state the speed limit as 5 knots within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water, and within 200 metres from the shore or any vessel showing a divers’ flag. Please abide by these laws that exist for your safety and the safety of others.

Before launching your boat check for invasive weeds.

How to Check, Clean, Dry


Fishing in the lakes is permitted all year round, but the season for the Mararoa River is 1 October – 30 April. All anglers must have a current season’s fishing licence.

Brown and rainbow trout are found in the Mararoa River and both lakes. Artificial baits only are permitted. Visit Fish & Game for local fishing regulations.

How to Check, Clean, Dry

Four wheel driving

The track from the camping area to Careys Hut is suitable for 4WD vehicles, but the tracks from Careys Hut to Boundary Hut and to Forks Hut are very rough/difficult and not recommended for vehicle access. 

All vehicles are prohibited beyond Forks and Boundary Huts.

Please keep to the tracks and formed roads to help reduce environmental damage. Show consideration to others at campsites with vehicle noise.

Remember that all rules of the road apply within the park. All vehicles must be registered and warranted, helmets worn and drivers licensed. The police undertake random inspections and do not hesitate to prosecute offenders.

Horse riding

Horse trekking is permitted within the park, but horses are not to be tethered in the camping area. A holding paddock is provided at the bottom end of the North Lake and at Forks Hut.

Trekking routes are not specified, but all sensitive habitat areas especially stream margins and wetlands should be avoided. The Mararoa River should only be crossed between the lakes or at the 4WD vehicle access point to the Windon Burn.

No horse trekking beyond Boundary Hut.

Horse owners are responsible for providing sufficient processed feed for their animals. To help reduce the spread of weeds, please ensure that feed is free of undesirable plant material such as oats.

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    About this place

    Getting there

    Mavora Lakes are accessible on gravel roads off SH94, a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Te Anau. There are two turn-off points from SH94 between Mossburn and Te Anau, either at Centre Hill or Burwood Station, then follow gravel roads for 39 km.

    There is no regular public transport to the Mavora Lakes. Transport connections are available from the end of the Greenstone Track to Glenorchy, or from the Divide on the Milford Road.

    Know before you go

    Dogs can be taken into the park, but must be under control at all times. All dogs must be tethered on a leash in the camping areas and at hut sites. Clean up after your dog in amenity areas.

    Cats and other domestic animals are not permitted in Mavora Lakes Park.

    Kiwi Burn Hut is located in Snowdon Forest Park, which is a controlled dog access area that requires a dog permit.


    Murihiku / Invercargill Office
    Phone:   +64 3 211 2400
    Address:   7th Floor
    CUE on Don
    33 Don Street
    Invercargill 9810
    Full office details
    Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 249 7924
    Address:   Fiordland National Park
    Visitor Centre
    Lakefront Drive
    Te Anau 9600
    Full office details
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