Lake Kaniere has been described as one of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand. Situated only a short 19km inland from Hokitika, the lake is surrounded on three sides by mountains that are capped in snow during winter, and provides a variety of activities including water sports, fishing, bird watching, tramping, waterfalls and beautiful scenic drives. The Lake Kaniere walkway is a trail that traverses native bush along the western shore of the lake, and can also be mountain biked by the more adventurous.

The West Coast can be reached in as little as a couple of hours from Christchurch making it an ideal destination for holiday trips. Small West Coast ‘lake towns’ and settlements are becoming increasingly popular, and people numbers swell over the summer months as holiday makers re-open their baches and dust off their boats.

Lake view from the Hans Bay DOC campsite

One of the most popular and well-known spots is Lake Brunner and the township of Moana, inland from Greymouth. But, if you’re not too keen on busy, popular, boat-infested lakeside towns, look just a tad further south to Lake Kaniere. I see Lake Kaniere as the little brother to Lake Brunner and in my opinion, the area is even more beautiful than its ‘bigger brother’.

By road, Lake Kaniere is only 19km east from Hokitika. The lake itself is known for its placid calm waters, stunning mountain views and lush native bush which grows right down to the lake edge. There are several picnic areas, numerous short walks, longer more arduous tramps and mountain-biking tracks. The lake provides some great fishing for wily trout, recreational water sports and swimming in the many quiet bays and beaches. In Hans Bay there is a DOC campsite that contains 40 non-powered sites on a large, grassy lake-front location and is suitable for caravans and motorhomes. The campground is on an elevated area, which means that you get a great view overlooking the lake. One of the highlights for me when I stayed there a few nights in my caravan was waking up each morning to a breathtaking vista of a flat calm Lake Kaniere. As the site is on a first-come first-served basis, no bookings are required and the fees are very minimal. Flush toilets are available, as is a drinking water supply.

Start of the Lake Kaniere walkway


Lake Kaniere Walkway

The Lake Kaniere walkway starts at the north-western corner of the lake at the end of Sunny Bight Road. Sunny Bight itself is a picturesque bay with a small cluster of houses and a delightful picnic area.

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