Year of 2017

Lake Pukaki on South Island, New Zealand

The glaciers in New Zealand’s Southern Alps have ground away at the bedrock below, pulverizing the stone into ‘rock flour,’ which flows into the waters of Lake Pukaki. The particulate is light enough that it becomes suspended in the water, turning the lake into a glimmering blue gem. It’s so striking that film director (and New Zealand native) Peter Jackson chose Pukaki as the setting for Esgaroth, aka Lake-town, a location in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy.

Lake Pukaki is the largest of three roughly parallel alpine lakes running north-south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin on New Zealand’s South Island. The others are Lakes Tekapo and Ohau. All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes.
Depth: 230 feet (70 m)
Surface area: 69 sq miles (178.70 km²)
Surface elevation: 1,745 feet (532 m)
Mean depth: 154 feet (47 m)
Catchment area: 545.56 sq miles (1,413 km²)
Cities: Mount Cook Village
Lake Pukaki - STS088-721-15
Lake Pukaki (bottom centre) and its neighbouring lakes are separated from the West Coast by the Southern Alps.