Waitaki River

Stretching from the hinterland of the Southern Alps, the journey of water has huge significance in the Waitaki. The large braided Waitaki River flows off the mountains to drain into the Waitaki Lakes (a network from which New Zealand’s largest hydro power scheme was built), to the lower reaches of the braided Waitaki river to finally reach the Pacific Ocean.


The Waitaki River and catchment at large, is a renowned spot for magnificent salmon and trout fisheries. The quality of fishing along the river and hydro lakes and canals attract both locals and visiting anglers.

Early Maori fished and hunted on the Waitaki river they named “water of tears.” The name refers to tears shed by Tane, god of the forest, for Tangaroa, god of the sea. The river has a spiritual significance for Maori as its catchment includes the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki (Mt Cook), regarded by Maori as an ancestor of lofty mana.

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