Nearly 80-km long and shaped like a lightning bolt, Lake Wakatipu is the third largest lake in New Zealand and the second largest in the Southern Lakes District. The lake is globally renowned for its beauty, being bordered on all sides by tall mountains, the highest of which is Mount Earnslaw.

The Kawarau RIver control its outflow, on the onset near Queenstown while the Dart River flows into the northern end of the lake. The lake is home to the vintage Edwardian steamboat TSS Earnslaw, which regularly plies its waters, departing from its berth in Queenstown.