Lake Mahinapua is a tranquil lake. This walk is the perfect digestive tonic after a picnic in view of the Southern Alps.
Lake Mahinapua is reached 10 km south of Hokitika on SH6. Shanghai Road is the entrance road and is signposted opposite the Mahinapua Hotel.
After 700 m there is a large camping area with toilets and picnic tables. The lakeside site has views of the Southern Alps.
All walks start from here, including the Bellbird Walk. The start of the track is signposted from the southern end of the camping ground (right looking at the lake).
The well-formed track performs a circuit of the pond.
Lake Mahinapua was formed when the Hokitika Glacier met the Tasman Sea. The retreating glacier dumped a moraine wall and dunes were built up by the sea. The Hokitika River flowed into the lake, creating an estuary sandwiched between the dunes and moraines. When the river changed course, the lake was left in the hollow.
Kahikatea, rimu and rata form emergents in the lake shore forests.
The bellbird or korimako (Anthornis melanura), has an olive green plumage, sleek figure and gently arcing beak. The bellbirds are as visually attractive as their heavenly song. The bell-like notes are learned from neighbouring adults and two birds may be heard in tandem, singing and counter-singing to determine territorial spacing. Members of the honeyeater family, bellbirds consume nectar from many native trees and in autumn, by feeding on berries, they act as important seed-dispersing agents in the ecology of the forest.
The smaller lake the walk circumnavigates was an old gold-dredge pond.
Lake Mahinapua found favour as an easily navigable water course along the densely forested and swampy coast. From 1865, as miners flocked in search of gold, steamers plied the rivers and lakes. With the advent of the railway in 1905, commercial and tourist traffic on the lake ceased.
South Island ▷ West Coast ▷ Hokitika
Lovely walk with weka running around. Don't miss the bellbird walk, you feel like you are in the middle of the rainforest - be quiet.
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Short walk (10 min) but lovely chance to see & walk through the ancient woodland or to listen out for bellbirds.
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 😍