Nelson Lakes National Park surrounds two lakes – Rotoiti and Rotoroa – fringed by sweet-smelling beech forest with a backdrop of greywacke mountains. Located at the northern end of the Southern Alps, and with a dramatic glacier-carved landscape, it’s an awe-inspiring place to get up on high.
Part of the park, east of Lake Rotoiti, is classed as a ‘mainland island’ where a conservation scheme aims to eradicate introduced pests (rats, possums and stoats), and regenerate native flora and fauna. It offers excellent tramping, including short walks, lake scenery and one or two sandflies… The park is flush with bird life, and famous for brown-trout fishing.
The human hub of the Nelson Lakes region is the small, low-key village of St Arnaud.