6 Best Things to Do at Lake Brunner & Moana

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What to Do at Moana & Lake Brunner: the West Coast’s Largest Lake

A stunning lake with a backdrop of mountains and ancient forest, Lake Brunner is well worth the short venture from Greymouth on the West Coast. On the northern shores of the lake is the little town of Moana, a tight-knit community with an excellent tavern worth popping into to meet the friendly locals. Otherwise, you’ll want to spend the rest of your time outdoors tackling the myriad of hiking trails surrounding the lake, joining one of the fishing guides for brown trout fishing, or just soaking up the scenery of this breathtaking hidden gem of the South Island. Find out what to do here with this list of things to do at Lake Brunner and Moana.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 5 Greymouth Must-Dos and 10 West Coast Must-Dos.

1. Fish for Brown Trout

Great year-round fishing, wild brown trout, a stunning lake… What else do you need?! The brown trout at Lake Brunner weigh an average of 1-2kg (3-4lbs). Take your own gear, get a fishing license and try your luck on the Arnold River and on the lake, or hire one of the local fishing guides to take you out on the water. Fishing guides are available to book at the Moana accommodations.

Location: Lake Brunner and the Arnold River

6 Amazing Things to Do at Lake Brunner & Moana©

2. Walk the Bain Bay Track and to Carew Falls

Lake Brunner is surrounded by spectacular walking and hiking trails. One of the highlights is the Bain Bay Track. This 2-hour return walk crosses boardwalks through old native forest to Bain Bay. At Bain Bay, you’ll see timber mill relics, a historic jetty (or what is left of it) and expansive views of the lake. Starting from the same area, do the 1-hour return Carew Falls Track steadily climbing to an impressive waterfall. And that’s just the beginning… Check out the 10 Hikes Around Lake Brunner for more amazing walks.

Location: These walks start from the southwest side of the lake by Lake Brunner Lodge and Mitchell’s. 38km (24 miles) from Moana by road.©

3. Take the Train Through Arthur’s Pass National Park

Moana and Lake Brunner are one of the starting (and finishing) stations of the TranzAlpine Train that runs between Greymouth and Christchurch. Hop on the train at Moana and enjoy breathtaking views on a scenic journey through Arthur’s Pass and the Southern Alps. The journey is approximately 4 hours. The train features open-air viewing carriages and a cafe. Learn more about the journey in the Train Network in New Zealand.

Location: Just off Ana Street on the lakefront.©

4. Check Out the Pottery and Art at Kotuku Pottery

Inspire yourself and pick up some unique souvenirs from Kotuku Pottery. All pottery is made by hand, featuring all sorts from mugs to sculptures. Other art pieces often feature at the pottery too. Pop in to visit the studio and workshop.

Location: 1967 Arnold Valley Road

Kotuku Pottery© Kotuku Pottery

5. Visit the Historic Jack’s Mill School

One of the quirkiest historic attractions in the area, Jack’s Mill School was built and furnished by school children. The headteacher of the school in 1935, Edward Darracott, was known for giving his students alternative hands-on projects. First, with making a garden, then by getting the 10-12-year-old schoolchildren to build their own house complete with a bathtub and a full kitchen. The bungalow was completed in 1955 with running water and electricity. The buildings are open on Sundays, 2-5pm. Otherwise, visiting the school grounds has plenty of photo opportunities.

Location: Kotuku, 5.5km north of Moana.

itravelNZ on Flickr© itravelNZ on Flickr

6. See Glowworms

Find a glowworm grotto accessible straight from Moana! Take the Velenski Track after dark and keep an eye out for small clusters of glowworms. The track takes approximately 30 minutes to complete there and back. It’s one of the 10 Free Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.

Location: Signposted on Taku Street, Moana©


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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