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When the winds are not blowing hard from off the mountains, Lake Clearwater holds images like a broad mirror. In it you can see reflections of the snow-capped Southern Alps that stretch for miles beyond under billowing clouds. No wonder this New Zealand treasure is called Lake Clearwater. The lake, in the Christchurch-Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island, is located in a remote tussock-covered mountain valley at the headwaters of the Ashburton River.
The region spans the extreme heights of the Southern Alps to the fathomless depths of dolphin and whale inhabited ocean. Lake Clearwater, which once had the name Lake Tripp, lies somewhere in between, in New Zealand high country characterized mostly by pastoral land over 2000 feet in elevation. Deer, alpaca, and sheep graze on farmlands amid the looming mountain ranges. Now part of the Hakatere Conservation Park, Lake Clearwater is a wildlife reserve for the endangered Great Crested Grebe. Many of the breeding nests for the elegant birds are signposted and often fenced off. As part of the refuge's protective measures, only wind-powered crafts may troll on Lake Clearwater. But don't worry, power boating is allowed on Lake Camp (once known as Lake Howard), a smaller lake just south of Lake Clearwater.
Lake Clearwater has a good rainbow trout and brown trout fishery that can pose a hard challenge in such an open valley vulnerable to strong, funnelling wind. The fish become difficult to stalk when the water surface gets choppy. But what might be less favorable conditions for fishermen are excellent circumstances for sailors, windsurfers and kiteboarders whose adventures are made with the varying temperaments of the wind. Windsurfing clinics and kiteboarding tournaments attract hosts of windlovers each year. Because the lake is shallow, it is easily warmed in the summer. For the same reason, it freezes in frigid winters.
A village of holiday homes, or baches, are popular at Lake Clearwater and offer viable options whether you are looking for vacation rentals or real estate property for purchase. These holiday baches offer long term vacations on Lake Clearwater and a whole season of mountain biking and hiking the area's terrain, swimming, challenging trout fishing and exhilarating windsurfing.
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