Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is the most diverse site in Aotearoa New Zealand for birdlife, with over 200 species (some of which are now extinct) recorded since records began.Learn more
Recreational fishing in Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, and its tributaries, includes the fishing of brown trout, pātiki/flounder, tuna/eel, coarse fish species such as perch, and whitebaiting when the lake is open to the sea.Learn more
Cycling is a popular activity along the lakeshore near Kaituna and the Little River Rail Trail offers a scenic and safe cycle path suitable for all levels of rider.Learn more
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere has a range of walks suitable for every ability. Find out more about what the area has to offer.Learn more
Game bird hunting
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is renowned as a game-bird hunting area. Rakiraki/mallard ducks are the key target for hunters. Other species available for hunting include kāki nui/black swan, pūtakitaki/paradise shelduck and tataa/shoveler ducks.Learn more
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere covers a vast area and provides for a wide range of recreational activities, with excellent opportunities for birdwatching, photography, recreational fishing, biking, walking and watersports.
- Greenpark Sands is a great location to see international migratory bird species and the bird hide at Waitatari/Harts Creek is a good place to spot elusive swamp birds.
- Lakeside Domain, at the western end of the lake, provides opportunities for jet skiing and water skiing, windsurfing, sailing and kite boarding. Kayaks can be launched at Lakeside Domain, and from boat ramps on the Ararira/LII and the Waikiriri/Selwyn River.
- At the Kaituna end of the lake, the Little River Rail Trail provides expansive views of Te Waihora for cyclists and walkers. (link to cycling and walking)
Keep an eye out for lake warnings
If you are considering any activity that involves contact with the water, be aware that there are sometimes health advisories in place warning about cyanobacteria (toxic blue-green algae) blooms.
Check out the Environment Canterbury website for current warnings and, in summer, the LAWA website for information about other water quality measures.