Dense rainforests and golden beaches are some of the attractions that make the South Island in New Zealand one of the most beautiful places on earth. In this part of the world, adventures are endless, and people enjoy the sights of the snow-capped Southern Alps, aquamarine glacial lakes, and remnants of extinct volcanoes. Even if one spent weeks or months in South Island, it would never be enough to explore all the amazing things and splendid attractions that this part of New Zealand has to offer. From visiting the beautiful Mount Richmond Forest Park and kayaking with seals in Kaikoura to rock climbing and caving in Golden Bay, the fun never ends in South Island.


However, many people don’t know about the magnificent secret lake lying in South Island’s Lake Wakana, Otago. Here’s what people should learn about the unique Arethusa Pool on top of Mou Waho Island.

Related: New Zealand Vs Wales - Which Has the World's Craziest Longest Name?

Here’s What To Know About Mou Waho Island In Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is home to four significant islands that offer people the most breathtaking vistas. The largest of them is Mou Waho Island which preserves some of New Zealand’s most endemic species. Although predator-free, this 120-hectare bedrock pedestal is accessible to the public for free and offers overnight camping opportunities.

Other islands on Lake Wanaka include Mou Tapu, Te Peka Karara, and Ruby Island. However, out of all four, Mou Waho offers the best exciting activities and sightseeing options. This is thanks to the island’s rich history and untold magic. Even many Kiwis haven’t experienced what this farthest island from town offers.

  • How to get there: The best and most exciting way to reach Mou Waho is to ride to the island with Wanaka Water Taxi.

Having a guide during a tour around Mou Waho is essential to learn about the island’s history, lakes, nature facts, and the surrounding islands. A local guide will also explain exciting things such as the Ngai Tahu history of the region, the prohibition of parties of Ruby Island, and more.

  • Duration: Wanaka Water Taxi needs around 40 minutes to reach Mou Waho. The island needs about 2 hours to explore.

People will first feel and appreciate the unique calm in Mou Waho, where they can breathe out and relax away from the city’s bustle. They will have the chance to listen to the charming sound of the bellbirds and admire the beauty of the native shrubs. However, one must expect some steep walks in the area.

Related: Your Most Pressing FAQS About Visiting New Zealand

This Is How People Can Swim In A Lake On An Island On A Lake In Mou Waho

The mind-boggling experience of swimming in a lake on an island on a land is perfectly real in Mou Waho. In the middle of the island, people can find Arethusa Pool, a glacially-scoured freshwater lake. The latter sits at 150 meters above Wanaka Lake level. Arethusa Pool is a secluded lake that many Kiwis do not know exists, and it is worth visiting Mou Waho Island only to witness this great attraction.

This pool consists of a small deep blue and beautiful lake surrounded by gnarly old manuka and rocks with no ripple to break the surface. This pool was first named Moutimu by Maori. And after that, the European settlers called it Paradise Lake. However, the lake was renamed in the 1920s as Arethusa Pool. This naming is sourced from Greek Mythology.

  • What to do: In addition to taking a dip in the blue and magical waters of Arethusa Pool in Mou Waho, people must stand on top of the lookout to snap the most breathtaking shots of this splendid attraction.
  • How to reach: Reaching the Arethusa Pool is easy and can be completed through a 20-minute uphill hike. People must walk a further 5 minutes above the lake, which allows them to soak up the mesmerizing views of the two seemingly merging lakes.
  • Cost: Taking the Wanaka Water Taxi to Mou Waho island costs around $125 for a three-hour trip. People can take the boat tour either at 10:00 am or 1:00 pm.

The Amazing Activities To Undertake In New Zealand’s Wanaka

The most famous activity to undertake when visiting Wanaka is to stroll along the lakefront, with the most renowned landmark being the growing-from-water Wanaka Tree. The latter became an Instagram star in recent years and can be reached by walking from 20 minutes from the i-Site visitor center in Wanaka. Along the lakefront, people can relax on the pebble beach and enjoy exciting water sports.

Another popular activity to take part in Wanaka is to hike in Mount Aspiring National Park. This is also considered one of the most exciting activities in New Zealand.

  • Recommended: There are many trails in Mount Aspiring National Park. People are advised to hike the 18-kilometer beautiful Raspberry Creek to Aspiring Hut trail and 10-kilometer Rob Roy Glacier Track.

Other amazing activities to partake in Wanaka include kayaking to Ruby Island, wine tasting at Rippon Winery while enjoying the splendid views, hiking the Rocky Mountain Trail, walking up Mount Iron, exploring Wanaka Lavender Farm visiting Lake Hawea, and much more.

Next: Native New Zealand: Why You Should Learn About The Maori