Lake Heron lies between the Old Man and Mt Taylor ranges to the east, and the Arrowsmith Range to the west, and drains into the Rakaia River.
The lake, the largest of the Ashburton lakes, is a wildlife sanctuary and nature reserve with prolific bird life, including the endangered Southern Crested Grebe, and is a popular fishing spot.
The idyllic but basic Lake Heron Campground has water and toilet facilities, direct access to the lake, a pretty stream to let the children paddle in on those hot summer days, and is surrounded by beautiful mature trees that provide shady spots for those hot summer evenings. You can purchase a seasons ticket for $150 (this entitles you to leave your caravan on site for six months), or if you’re just passing through tent sites can be purchased for $7.50 per night. The campground operates on a honesty box system.
This lake is part of the Ashburton Lakes, a group of lakes located in the Hakatere Conservation Park including Lake Clearwater, Lake Camp, Lake Heron, Lake Emma, Lake Emily, Lake Denny, Lake Roundabout, Spider Lakes, and the Maori Lakes. Most of the lakes are easily accessed by gravel roads (from Hakatere Corner), however there are some that can only be accessed on foot or with a 4WD vehicle. The lakes are quite shallow which means they are warm in summer and often freeze over in winter. Fishing using starts on the 1st November and closes on 30th April.
This spectacular Canterbury high country is also a fantastic destination for non-water orientated activities including mountain biking, photography, hunting, hiking, tramping, walking, and bird-watching.