Lake Heron
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Lake Heron, South Island, New Zealand

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Map: Lake Heron, South Island, New Zealand

Located in the Christchurch/Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand, Lake Heron is the largest of the Ashburton lakes at 1556 acres. With a shoreline of 12 miles and an average depth of 118 feet, Lake Heron is one of the premier lakes of the region, which also includes other Ashburton lakes such as Seagull Lake, Manuka Lake, and Lake Emily to the southeast and Maori Lake, Lake Clearwater, Spider Lake, Lake Emma, and Lake Roundabout to the southwest. The South Island is the larger of the two major New Zealand Islands and is often referred to as "The Mainland" even though it only has about a quarter of the total population of New Zealand.

Shaped like a Y, Lake Heron lies in a valley between the Wild Man's Brother Range and Taylor Range. It is fed by several small streams with its northern end spilling into the Lake Stream, which is a tributary of the Rakaia River. The major tributaries flowing into Lake Heron are Mellish Stream and the Swin River, which are both very remote streams.

Access to the lake is along the western shoreline for about 1.2 miles and along the southern shoreline using four-wheel drive vehicles. Use the Hakatere-Heron Road to continue to the northern end of Lake Heron and the outflow into the Rakaia River. This road can get a bit muddy after heavy rains so check the weather before using the Hakatere-Heron Road. The eastern shore has limited access so it's best to enter on the west.

Fishing Lake Heron is possible from the shoreline or from a boat but the boat must be anchored. Expect to see brown trout, rainbow trout, and landlocked Quinnat salmon that move into the lake from the Rakaia River to spawn in the Mellish Stream. This beautiful high-country setting offers incredible views of steep banks covered in lush vegetation. When fishing from shore, watch for the overhanging vegetation that may grab your hook or fly. Fishing season is open from the first Saturday in November to April 30.

Activities in the area include hiking, bird watching, skiing, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, hunting, sky diving, snowboarding, and fishing. Methven, a town located south of Lake Heron sits at the base of the Southern Alps and is a base for snow sport enthusiasts. Besides winter sports, Methven offers golf, resort town shops, excellent restaurants, and lodges. Other towns near Lake Heron include Ashburton, Rangiora, and Geraldine. There are limited vacation rentals on Lake Heron and in the surrounding area for daily, weekly, and monthly rentals.

The rugged, mountainous terrain around Lake Heron presents a unique lake experience in a country with working sheep stations in the remote hillsides. Stay on the lake and you'll have breathtaking scenery, ample fishing opportunities, and contact with wildlife right at your doorstep.

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Lake Heron


  • Fishing
  • Snowboarding
  • Boating
  • Hunting
  • Golf
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Biking

Fish Species

  • Brown Trout
  • Salmon
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Trout
  • Rainbow Trout

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