Exploring Sutton Salt Lake

Department of Conservation —  27/05/2014

By Chrissy Wickes, Partnerships Ranger, Wanaka

Sutton Salt Lake is New Zealand’s only inland salt lake. The lake is nestled in a scenic reserve near Middlemarch in Otago and offers brilliant views of the Rock and Pillar Range.

Walking the 3.5 kilometre track to Sutton Salt Lake.

Walking the 3.5 kilometre track to Sutton Salt Lake

I recently visited this unusual lake with my partner and son. We walked the 3.5 kilometre track. It is easy flat terrain—great for kids, with plenty to see along the way.

The area is full of schist rock tors, tussock grasslands, skinks, and numerous unique plants including an undescribed forget-me-not and a desert broom.

Chrissy's son Shannon climbing up the rocks along the track.

Shannon climbing up the rocks

Often there is no water in this desert dry landscape and the ‘lake’ becomes a cracked mud basin. But this trip, after much rain, created a shallow lake for us to share with a pair of pied stilts and a few local paradise duck.

Chrissy's son Shannon playing in the silky mud.

Playing in the silky mud

Our 3 year old son, Shannon, loved the silky mud and the climbing challenges of the rocks.

Check out the DOC website for more information on Sutton Salt Lake.

2 responses to Exploring Sutton Salt Lake

  1. 

    Diving into the mud was something we definitely didn’t do as sensible grown-ups on a botanical society trip…. yep. We missed out, that’s for sure!

  2. 

    that is so cool – I did not know we had a salt water lake in NZ – learn something new everyday. Thanks for sharing.