Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake (finger lake) in the South Island of New Zealand. It is in the southwest corner of the Otago Region, near its boundary with Southland. Lake Wakatipu comes from the original Māori word Whakatipu wai-māori.
The original form and meaning of the name are not known for certain. The name is believed to originate from the Waitaha people, who were later displaced by Kāti Mamoe. Taken literally, Wakatipu would mean “growing canoe” or possibly “growing bay” if the original was Whakatipu and the h elided as a result of the Southern Māori dialect.The dialect is also known for dropping final vowels, and Wakatipua or Whakatipua (Canoe/Bay of spirits) have also been recorded historically, as has Wakatapu (sacred vessel). A legend says that the lake bed was formed when a giant ogre, Kopu-wai was burned while lying asleep. Waka can also mean ‘hollow’.
Lake Wakatipu is a habitat for the longfin eel (a specimen caught in 1886 is the largest known of this species), brown trout, salmon and rainbow trout.These and other fish support predators such as the pied shag. The black-billed gull is often found around the lake while the most common birds are the black-billed gull and the introduced mallard. A smaller bird often not noticed because of its size is the New Zealand scaup.