Lake Ohau[2] is a lake in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand's South Island. It is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps, and has its outflow in the Ohau River, which itself feeds into the Waitaki River hydroelectric project.

Lake Ohau
Lake Ohau.jpg
LocationMackenzie Basin, Waitaki District, Canterbury region, South Island
Coordinates44°15′S 169°51′E / 44.250°S 169.850°E / -44.250; 169.850Coordinates: 44°15′S 169°51′E / 44.250°S 169.850°E / -44.250; 169.850
Typeglacial lake
Primary inflowsHopkins, Dobson
Primary outflowsOhau
Catchment area1,198 km2 (463 sq mi)[1]
Basin countriesNew Zealand
Surface area54 km2 (21 sq mi)[1]
Average depth74 m (243 ft)[1]
Max. depth129 m (423 ft)[1]
Water volume4.02 km3 (3,260,000 acre⋅ft)[1]
Surface elevation520 m (1,710 ft)

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives a translation of "place of Hau" for Ōhau, but an alternative meaning could be "windy place".[3]

Ohau is the smallest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin (the others are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo). It covers 60 km².

The Ohau ski field is located close to the western shore of the lake, as is its service town, Lake Ohau Alpine Village.

The lake forms part of the traditional boundary between Otago and Canterbury regions, Otago's northernmost point being the headwaters of the Hopkins River. Officially the lake lies in the northwestern part of the Waitaki District within the southern part of the Canterbury region.[4]

Lake Ohau is on the route of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, which has been constructed in the years after approval in 2010. The trail runs along the lake up to Lake Ohau Lodge, and then climbs up the Tarnbrae Track before a flowing descent to Quailburn Road.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Irwin, J. (September 1978), "Bottom sediments of Lake Tekapo compared with adjacent Lakes Pukaki and Ohau, South Island, New Zealand" (PDF), N.Z. Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 12 (3), pp. 245–250, doi:10.1080/00288330.1978.9515749, retrieved 9 November 2007[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Place name detail: Lake Ohau". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  3. ^ "1000 Māori place names". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 6 August 2019.
  4. ^ Waitaki District Council ward area Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Waitaki District Council website, retrieved 1 July 2008.

External linksEdit