Adventures around Lake Brunner start at Moana — a friendly little holiday settlement on the largest lake on the West Coast. A longtime, popular outdoor playground for locals, it’s also a little bit famous as a world-class fishing destination and as a stop on the TranzAlpine scenic railway journey.
Moana on the shores of beautiful Lake Brunner — the West Coast’s largest lake, an outdoor playground and world-class fishing destination.
Locals have been holidaying at Moana and Lake Brunner for a long time; then news started getting out about big lazy trout and world-class fishing and, a while back, the TranzAlpine scenic rail journey added Moana in as a regular stop.
Māori were the first visitors to Lake Brunner — known to them as Kōtuku Moana or Kōtukuwhakaoka — stopping off to fish for eels and freshwater mussels, replenishing on their travels in or out of the West Coast in search of pounamu / greenstone.
Moana sits on the northern lakeshore of Lake Brunner. It’s an easy 37 km half-hour drive southeast from Greymouth and most visitors arrive by road. There’s a variety of accommodation — from campsites to holiday rentals and a hotel — and dining options in town.
Operating between Christchurch and Greymouth, the TranzAlpine Journey traverses the Southern Alps on a wonderful scenic excursion.
The thrilling TranzAlpine scenic rail journey — voted one of the top six train journeys in the world — travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, stopping at a handful of picturesque stations along the way, including the little heritage railway station at Moana.
You can board or depart the train at Moana. You’ll need to book in advance to confirm the stop but this could just be the best ever way to arrive in town. The station is right in town and beside the lake, and the old stationmaster’s home is now a cafe.
Lake Brunner is a holiday paradise made for lakeside idylls, surrounded by majestic forests and mountains, and under big skies.
Mountains of beautiful lakeside scenery, walking, cycling, boating, water sports, year-round fishing.
Moana / Lake Brunner is one of New Zealand’s top fishing destinations with abundant wild brown trout in the lake or rivers.
Lake Brunner is known as “the place where fish die of old age” and, just like the fish, local fishing stories abound. The lake record to beat, they say, is 29 trout caught in one day!
Fishing is a year-round attraction — either on the lake from boats, and fly fishing in many nearby rivers and streams including the Arnold River which flows out from the lake at Moana.
The lake has abundant stocks of wild browns (average weight 4 lb) along with some rainbow trout. Experienced fishing guides, licenses and boats for hire are available in Moana.
Luxuriant wetland and rainforest ecosystems feed the temperate waters of Lake Brunner, creating a fisherman’s dream destination.
Moana’s lakeside location affords panoramic views of the lake, hills and magnificent snow capped mountains beyond, and there are many beautiful spots along the lake frontage for picnicking or birdwatching.
From the launching ramp at Moana, it’s easy to get out on the lake on a power boat, yacht or a scenic charter. The calm waters are also good for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and waterskiing and, an added bonus, the water isn’t snow fed so summer temperatures are pleasant.
The forests come right down into the water in parts and there is an abundance of birdlife in the extensive, luxuriant wetland and rainforest ecosystems. When night falls there are fabulous red and gold sunsets followed by magnificent starry skies.
Expansive views from Mt. Te Kinga over Lake Brunner, Moana and the Paparoa Range — a demanding full-day return tramp to the summit.
The lake is surrounded by lovely bush walks, ranging from 20-minute trails to full-day tramping expeditions. Some tracks are directly accessed from Moana: