Lake Mapourika is a kettle lake. It was formed when a large block of ice was left behind by the retreating Franz Josef Glacier some fourteen thousand years ago. It is ten kilometres north of the Franz Josef Glacier Village on the State Highway.
It is the largest lake in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. The lake is fed by a number of small streams that come from the surrounding bush clad hills. It drains into the Okarito River.
Mapourika roughly translates from Maori to English as the "Flower of the Dawn" and dawn is an excellent time to go fishing on the lake. If you are feeling energetic you can hire a freedom kayak, or take a guided kayak tour. A more relaxed way to see the lake is on a boat cruise or from one of the two picnic areas. Whichever you choose be sure to look out for the abundant bird life!
Jetty Bay, the southern access point to Lake Mapourika, is 8km north of the Franz Josef Glacier Village on State Highway 6.
Jetty Bay was originally called “The Landing” because people and the post would land here after travelling from Okarito. The bay is at the southern end of Lake Mapourika and has a picnic table, toilet, boat ramp and parking area.
Salmon were first released as early as 1932. Today you can land a decent sized salmon dinner from the 1st October to the 31st March. Trout can be caught all year round. Expect your trout to be in the three to five pound range, and the salmon are even bigger!