22 November 2017

Lake Coleridge & Village

I thought Lake Coleridge village would be nestled beside the lake. But nope – it’s not.  The picturesque village (minus shops) is a little settlement spread amongst beautiful conifers.

 It’s an easy drive up the Rakaia River Valley alongside the Rakaia River.

Past farm paddocks and an unused rustic farm building.

Over millions of years, huge glaciers, earthquakes, wind, rain, snow and volcanoes have played a part in creating Lake Colerodge’s landscape.

Years ago Maori used the area as an important food gathering spot when crossing the Southern Alps for greenstone (pounamu) from the West Coast.

In the mid 1800s the first Europeans arrived and run-holders settled on the land to farm.

Lake Coleridge power station was the New Zealand Government’s first hydroelectric power station. Lake Coleridge was the ideal location as it was near the growing city of Christchurch. The lake is 170 metres above the Rakaia River so only gravity is used to bring the water from the lake to the power station and then it empties into the Rakaia River.

Huge pipes (penstocks) bring water from Lake Coleridge to the Power Station.

In 1911 construction workers arrived and at first were housed in tents and sheds. Permanent housing was built after the workers experienced the harsh high country winters. Many trees and shrubs were planted to provide shelter from the nor’west winds.

After three years, in 1914, the power station was completed and started operating in November.

Information boards near the power station provide details of the area’s history and facts on the power station.

This Post Office was built in 1949 and is still used by residents to collect their mail through the PO Box system. In the mid 1950s three robbers tried to steal the safe the night before payday. There was an all night man-hunt which resulted in the thieves being caught.

There are many walks in the area, some around Lake Coleridge village, others are DOC walks and a couple across private land.

Noticeboards in the village near the power station provide information on the walks/tramps.

The village hall was built in 1939 and used for movies, dances and other events.

Near the hall, there's a house that looked as though it had a glistening Christmas tree in their yard, but after closer inspection it turned out it's a glass tree made from empty wine bottles. The sun was shining on it making it look sparkly.

A crafty way to recycle bottles.
We drove to the intake, along a narrow, windy, unsealed 5km road, through private land.

The colour of the water was amazing - so vibrant!
Lake Colerdige is popular for fishing – the most common catch in the lake is landlocked Chinook salmon, other fish include brown trout and rainbow trout.

The dogs had a ball swimming and jumping for stones.

We kept away from the intake area - but it didn't faze some folk.


  1. Great info - we have not been there yet. Hopefully we can add it to the "must see" places for our up-coming trip down south.

  2. Looks good. We'll try to get there.


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