The Clearest Lake In The World (NZ’s best secret spots)

Last Updated on February 5, 2023

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From the clearest lake in the world to waterfalls and hidden trails, find out the best hidden gems in New Zealand.

Recently in New Zealand, on a TV program after the 6 o’clock news, there was a piece on one of the most beautiful spots in the country.

Apparently, it’s quite well known around the world but to me and my friend’s surprise, we had never heard of it before.

Most of us don’t know what beauty lies on our own front doorstep here in beautiful New Zealand.

We have countless hidden treasures which some of us like to keep close to our hearts in the fear that it won’t be hidden anymore.

But our small country is beautiful and I want others to see the beauty that lies here.

I have gathered the top 9 most stunning secret spots that are beautifully hidden amongst nature in New Zealand – the land of the long white cloud – including the clearest lake in the world!

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

9 Amazing Secret Places in New Zealand

1. Blue Lake, Nelson Lakes National Park (Nelson)

We have to start off with the clearest lake in New Zealand: Blue Lake (called Rotomairewhenua in Maori).

This stunning New Zealand lake is located in The Nelson Lakes National Park and is one of many Nelson hidden gems.

In fact, Blue Lake is the clearest lake in the WORLD and I had never even heard of it before!

Which just goes to show it is definitely one of many New Zealand best kept secrets.

I was aware that New Zealand had some of the clearest lakes in the world, but I was surprised to learn that the THE clearest lake in the world was here.

It’s an untouched beauty and New Zealand would like to keep it that way. The water is Tapu (sacred in Maori) so you cannot swim, wash clothes or dishes, or fish in here.

The catch is that you have to trek for 2 days to get here through quite a hard trail but the finish line is pretty remarkable don’t you think?

But it’s worth it to see probably the best lake in the world – definitely one of the most unique!

Of course, if you really can’t manage a 2 day hike, there are many other great New Zealand lakes worth visiting.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Nelson click here!

Come and enjoy the best lake in the world, wooden elevated pathway across beautiful lake with green hills in the distance under a blue sky with clouds

2. Ship cove, Queen Charlotte track (Marlborough Sounds)

I got to see this cove a few years back and it blew my mind.

One of the bays along the great Queen Charlotte track, Ship Cove is one of my favourite New Zealand secret spots.

This cove just gives you a little taste of the stunning surroundings you will be walking into if you decide to do the hike.

There’s many little coves and secret beaches along here so pack a bag and start hiking or hire a kayak is another great way to see them! 

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in the Marlborough Sounds click here!

3. Te Puia springs (Kawhia)

Most people who travel the North Island would have heard of Hot Water Beach.

It’s where you take a shovel and dig yourself your own hot pool in the low tide BUT if you want a less known secret local hot springs, head to Te Puia Springs.

You won’t have to fight tourists over your own spot. This is definitely a locals best kept secret, lets keep it between you and me.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Kawhia click here!

hidden new zealand lakes, aerial view of lake cove with clear blue waters surrounded by beach and forested area
Photo by David Tip on Unsplash

4. Te Pukatea Bay (Abel Tasman National Park)

Te Pukeatea Bay in Abel Tasman National Park is one the best hidden gems New Zealand has to offer. 

Golden sand and crystal clear water will send shivers down your spine it’s so gorgeous. You’ll find some of the clearest water in New Zealand here.

This is a stunning local spot that can be reached by walking 12.4km (4 hours) from Marahau.

As it’s quite secluded from everything, the campsite here can only house 7 tent sites.

You can also reach this paradise by kayaking or taking a boat which just makes it more of a special spot that not everyone will be able to reach.

🗺 TOUR RECOMMENDATION: Looking to do a tour to discover the best of New Zealand? Join a Haka tour and see some of the most beautiful spots NZ has to offer!

5. Putaruru Blue Spring, Te Waihou walkway (Putaruru)

One of my favourite New Zealand hidden gems is Putaruru Blue Spring in Putaruru.

The only way to see this clear striking spring is along the Te Waihou walkway which is a 4.7km track.

The walk is definitely worth it in the end though because the view is very beautiful.

It has been named one the 10 watering holes you have to cool off in but be warned, the spring is only 11 degrees Celsius at all times!

It’s so clear that this spring provides 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water.

The spring is fed from the Mamaku Plateau and the water  takes over 100 years to filter through which is the reason it is so pure and clean.

The filtering through the rocks makes the water a stunning blue colour while it being virtually clear.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Putaruru click here!

6. New Chums Beach (Whangapoua)

Located in the Coromandel, New Chums Beach is another secluded paradise.

Its bright golden sand and lush green forest is deserted most of the time which is why it is a great hidden spot to explore!

This beach has actually been voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world and as one of the 101 must-dos for Kiwis.

You can access one of the best secret places in New Zealand by a 30-40 minute walk via the Mangakahia Drive track.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Whangapoua click here!

7. Bridal Veil Falls, Raglan

This beautiful plunge waterfall is located in the Raglan area, which over time has created a large pool at the bottom.

This 55m waterfall can be accessed by an easy 10 minute walk through the forest.

Once you are at the lookout make sure you head down the steep stairs for another magnificent view looking up at the waterfall.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Raglan click here!

8. Mokoroa Falls (Waitakere)

Only 50 minutes away from Auckland central, tucked away between Muriwai and Waitakere is a beautiful waterfall.

It’s about an easy 40 minute walk to reach from Horsman Road and the view is just stunning! It is definitely a beautifully hidden spot amongst the lush bush.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in Waitakere click here!

Discover the lake with the clearest water in New Zealand, person sitting on rock looking out over large forested area with hills leading off into the distance under a dramatic blue sky with thick grey clouds

9. Rocky lookout, Mt Holdsworth (Wairarapa)

Another one of my local New Zealand spots located in the Wairarapa. You can access Rocky Lookout from Mt Holdsworth which is around 15km out of Masterton.

This Wairarapa walk takes approximately 40 minutes to an hour to walk up there and the view is amazing as you can see on the pictures.

Mt Holdsworth has many beautiful walks and also a pretty awesome campground at the bottom, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

The locals will agree with me when I say it’s a New Zealand hidden gem.

Check out my guide on the best things to do in the Wairarapa.

🛌🏼 To check availability and the latest prices for accommodation in the Wairarapa click here!

What do you think of these hidden treasures? Which ones have you been or heard of and do you have any more to add to this list of beautiful spots in New Zealand.

Please remember to respect the rules when going to these natural New Zeland secret spots. If the sign says “don’t swim” then please DON’T. We want to keep these NZ spots forever and by doing that you have to respect the land.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What is the clearest lake in the world?

Blue Lake (or Rotomairewhenua in Maori) is not just the clearest lake in New Zealand, but the clearest lake in world!

✅ Where is the clearest lake in the world?

The clearest lake in the world, which is appropriately called Blue Lake, is located in the Nelson Lakes National Park on South Island in New Zealand.

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The Comments

  • Voyager
    March 27, 2016

    Wow, this is so wonderful! They all seem to be hidden gems. We would want to visit New Zealand soon.

  • Shaun
    March 28, 2016

    Beautiful photos! I want to go to there.


  • Laura @ Grassroots Nomad
    March 29, 2016

    These places all look incredible! I’ve never been to NZL but it really seems like I should!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Laura @ Grassroots Nomad
      March 31, 2016

      Yes, you definitely need to come here! 🙂

  • Tom
    April 2, 2016

    Ahhh, how did I not visit any of these places while I was working and travelling in New Zealand!! Gonna have to come back I think!!

  • Chandi
    April 2, 2016

    The nature in New Zealand sounds so amazing. I have to get there some day. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Svet Dimitrov
    April 5, 2016

    Anita, these are some jaw-dropping water places! I am tempted to drink from the lake. And those waterfalls!

  • Jessie
    April 15, 2016

    Wow this is great. Going to New Zealand after South Easy Asia so I have to save this page in the hope I can visit some if these hidden gems!

  • theworldonmynecklace
    August 25, 2016

    I haven’t heard of half of these (and have only been to one) – so much to see in beautiful NZ

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > theworldonmynecklace
      September 6, 2016

      There are so many beautiful spots! Aren’t we lucky? 😉

  • Jennifer
    March 25, 2018

    Dang it! We just came back from NZ, looks like we will have to go back!