In the clearest lake in the world, bathing is forbidden

Deep green beech forests, rugged mountain peaks and pristine waters await you in Nelson Lakes National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. But by far the most spectacular sight is offered by the Blue Lake: the water shimmers in the blue-violet color of pure H2O.

In the diving community, a visibility of 40 meters under water is already considered outstanding. The Blue Lake in New Zealand is all the more impressive. Because in the lake underwater visibility of up to 80 meters is possible. This corresponds to the clarity of distilled, pure water – and according to the New Zealand National Institute for Aquatic and Atmospheric Research ( NIWA ) makes the lake the clearest freshwater lake in the world.

But what makes the Blue Lake so clear? This is above the tree line and is not spoiled by falling leaves, for example. On the way to the Blue Lake, the water also passes countless layers of rock. This filters out almost all remaining sediment particles.

How to get to Blue Lake in New Zealand?

If you want to convince yourself of the unique clarity of the water, you can go on the well-known hiking route of the “Travers Sabine Circuit” in Nelson Lakes National Park. According to the New Zealand Nature Conservation Authority, the challenging route takes between four and seven days. The 80-kilometer hiking trail leads deep into the beech forests of the national park in the New Zealand Alps, past raging torrents. In between, you can always have breathtaking views of the up to 2000 meter high peaks in the area.

Once you have crossed the alpine Travers Pass after about four days, you turn off the main trail towards Blue Lake, which you can reach in about three hours. On site you will find the overnight accommodation Blue Lake Hut. Advance reservation is recommended as there are only 16 beds in the hut. Alternatively, if that is too strenuous for you, you can fly over Blue Lake in a helicopter and admire the clarity of the water from the air.

Bathing in the sanctuary is forbidden!

As tempting as Blue Lake’s shimmering blue-purple waters may look, swimming, diving, and splashing around are prohibited here. And not for reasons of nature conservation, but because the Maori tribe living in Nelson Lakes National Park worships the lake as a sanctuary. Here the souls of their dead are sent on their final journey to “Hawaiki”, the Maori word in the underworld. Out of respect for the centuries-old traditions of the Maori, one should also comply with this prohibition.

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