Lake Wakatipu is the third largest lake in New Zealand and at 84 km long, it’s also the longest. Its name comes from Maori, Whakatipu wai-māori, which could mean “growing bay” or “bay of spirits”, depending on the translation of the historic Southern dialect.
The Z-shaped lake was carved out by a glacier more than 15,000 years ago during the last ice age. It’s a magical lake with its own ‘heartbeat’ – the lake rises and falls by about 20cm every 27 minutes. The best place to see this is at Bob’s Cove.
The phenomenon is a lake seiche, or ‘standing wave’. A combination of the mountains, which rise dramatically out of the lake, wind and atmospheric pressures causes the water to sway back and forth.