With a length of 80 kilometres (50 mi), it is New Zealand's longest lake, and, at 291 km2 (112 sq mi), its third largest. The lake is also very deep, its floor being below sea level, with a maximum depth of 380 metres (1,250 ft). It is at an altitude of 310 metres (1,020 ft), towards the southern end of the Southern Alps. The general topography is a reversed "N" shape or "dog leg". The Dart River flows into the northern end, the lake then runs south for 30 kilometres before turning abruptly to the east. Twenty kilometres (12.4 mi) further along, it turns sharply to the south, reaching its southern end 30 kilometres (19 mi) further south, near Kingston (ed. note: where we're camping tonight).
Halfway from north to south you zig zag through Queenstown, which I photographed (below) in 2015 from the gondola. Back then I wrote: Plainly and unapologetically an adventure tourism mecca, Queenstown (population 12,500 then, 15,000+ now) wears it proudly. And rightly so, flaunting its glamorous self at the foot of The Remarkables as it nuzzles the acrylic blue waters of Lake Wakatipu.
That day with our family is one I'll always remember.
Today, we've driven down from the Glenorchy mountains and into the sun.
On our left, The Remarkables, lake to the right.
But here's a much better shot of The Remarkables, again taken in July 2015 when Carly jumped out of a plane with a handsome escort (click through for more invigorating pix). See today's road snaking along the shore?
These shots (and the video) are from the lower leg of the lake.
I'll never get used to the postcard-quality vistas here. Today's drive made me think NZ was just flaunting it.
If you haven't had enough, take a short trip with us. Here's three minutes from our drive today, recorded on Art's new little dash cam. Thanks to Logan's technical assistance back in Wanaka, Art has mastered the program. Note that we're towing a caravan and thus Art pulls over early in the vid to let unencumbered cars pass (gracious, and people toot their horns in thanks).