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Nelson Lakes National Park

The tranquil lakes of Rotoiti and Rotoroa are at the center of this 102,000 hectares National Park. To the east, the St Arnauld Range looks down on the bush clad shores of Lake Rotoiti. The beauty of this National Park is its large areas of forest cover, from beech forest on the slopes to podocarp forest along the river valleys.

Given National Park status in 1956, Nelson Lakes is located about 100 km south of Nelson and is at the northern end of the Southern Alps. The main township, St Arnaud is pretty town located on the shores of Lake Rotoiti and has a good range of accommodation, cafes and general supplies.

About 12,000 years ago successive ice ages shaped this area, huge glaciers carved out the valleys creating deep troughs in the Travers, Sabine and D'Urville valleys that are now filled by the two lakes, when the ice retreated about 8,000 years ago beech forest spread back into the park to become the dominating forest type.

The forests are full of bellbirds, tomtits, robins and the tiny rifleman, New Zealand's smallest bird. South Island kaka are also present.

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