Mou Waho

Mou Waho

Mou Waho

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Views from Mou Waho


2.6 km return | 1 hour 15 minutes return

Mou Waho is most celebrated for Arethusa Pool, where there is a small rock protruding above the stagnant lake level. This makes it an island on a lake on an island on a lake on an island in the ocean.


You will need a watercraft to access the island and good knowledge of Lake Wanaka’s weather conditions.
Paddle Wanaka run trips out there.


From the picnic area and toilet, the track winds up through the tea tree forest to Arethusa Pool.

It’s a short climb to the summit.

Be careful of the drop offs!


Mou Waho is 120 in size and is a resistance cap of rock, which was not bulldozed by the advancing Wanaka glacier. Arethusa Pool is a glacially scoured hollow.


All of the original matai and totara forest was destroyed by successive fires. It is now regenerating tea tree.


The island was declared pest free in 1995. It is a sanctuary for the mountain stone weta and the Southern Alps gecko.

200 buff weka make their home here, following introduction from the Chathams in 2004. This subspecies was extinct on the mainland since 1920, exiled to the Chathams and then reintroduced. Wally and Sally are the favourites and their colleagues love scrounging for tidbits. This is tantamount to junk food for them, so let them forage.

European History

In 1863 Alfred Pinn established a wharf and cottage on the island.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandWanaka RegionWanaka Township


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick