A pristine natural lake in a podocarp basin in the middle of the Ruahine Ranges
Lake Colenso is a special place. The only lake in the Ruahine Ranges it lies in a natural basin in the upper reaches of the Mangatera River. The basin itself is surrounded by white-stone cliffs, isolating it from the surroundings, and providing a spectacular backdrop. The surrounding area is predominantly beech forest, but the vegetation within the basin is varied podocarp bush - a complete contrast to the surrounding monoculture.
Travelling to the basin through the surrounding forest you are occasionally rewarded with the twitter of native birds, or the whistle of a blue duck in the rivers. But arriving at the head of the surrounding bluffs a continual symphony of varied birdsong greets you - the change from AM radio through a crystal earpiece to dolby 5.1 surround-sound!
Trees, ferns and flax come right to the lakeshore, so this isn't a beach location. But stand there and look at that pristene lake : populated with waterfowl; verdant native plantlife along it's shores; white cliffs towering beyond; and the tussock tops of the main Ruahine Ranges crowning the lot - stand there and tell me this is not a special place.
The nearby Colenso Hut provides accomidation, on the river banks, rather than the lakeshore - but only a 3-5 minute walk away. The river provides fishing opportunities, and deer are also present.