Nelson Lakes National Park
This national park was established in 1956 based around the two glacial formed lakes of Rotoiti and Rotoroa. The park was extended in 1988 and now covers some 102,000 hectares of protected beech forest and alpine ecosystems.
119km (1 hour 45minutes drive) south of Marahau via the scenic Motueka valley is Nelson Lakes National Park, The small sub-alpine village of St Arnaud located at the edge of the park.
Being sub-alpine, extremes of temperature are experienced: 30C in Summer to -5C in winter with ocassional snowfalls.
School, petrol, community centre, hotel, postal service, chapel, general store, public telephone, outdoor education centre, ice skating pond, water taxi, backpackers, B&Bs, homestays, restaurant, café and DOC information centre.
The Nelson Lakes National Park and surrounding areas are renowned for their tramping opportunities. From pleasant walks of a few minutes to multi-day alpine epics, the area has it all. We can offer advice on a trip that suits your experience and timeframe.
Within the Nelson Lakes National Park, beside the village of St Arnaud, is an area of 5000 hectares which is managed as the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project. The project has three goals which work together to achieve the vision of ecosystem restoration. They are:
- To reduce introduced pest numbers so that native species recover.
- To re-introduce species lost from the area.
- To advocate for indigenous species conservation and long term control.
This mainland island comprises approximately 825ha of predominantly red, silver and mountain beech forest, and is situated alongside Lake Rotoiti within Nelson Lakes National Park. Honeydew beech forests can support large numbers of native birds: the honeydew scale insect provides an energy source for nectar-feeding birds, and the sporadic and intense beech seed production (“masting”) provides food for large numbers of seed-eating birds. As well as the honey eaters, the forests are full of birds like tomtits, robins and the tiny rifleman, New Zealand’s smallest bird. South Island kaka are also present.