Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13
Covered boat floats on New Zealand's Blue Lake

What it Looks Like Under the Most Crystalline Lake in the World


The visibility of New Zealand’s Blue Lake extends to a length of 80 metres, the very same we could have if we were to swim in purified water.

After obtaining the government’s and the native’s permission, Klaus Thymann dived in the Blue Lake with his photographic camera. He was the first person to ever have been allowed to go swim in what the people of Maori consider a sacred spot. “It was an extraordinary visual experience,” Thymann told LiveScience. “I’ve never seen anything that clear.”

According to Robert Merrilees, a hydrologist from the Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of New Zealand, the visibility in the lake stretches for about 80 metres, which makes it by far the clearest in the world. It essentially provides the same visibility as distilled water, 100% pure and free of any kind of pollutant.

Underwater in New Zealand's Blue Lake.

This lake’s incredible phenomenon is due to the source of the water, which is is a glacial lake found in higher lands, called the Constance Lake; this lake, in turn, is fed by melting glaciers and is found above the line of trees. Rocks then filter the water of Lake Constance as it makes its way to the Blue Lake, where it only stays for about 24 hours before it is drained towards a river. This explains its exceptional clarity: water does not stay long enough in the Blue Lake to accumulate sediments and other materials that could murk its waters.

Underwater in New Zealand's Blue Lake.

The colors are dazzling, and, according to Thymann, the photographs reflect neatly what he saw. But the most beautiful part of it all, he added, is that the bottom of the lake is covered in the greenest of mosses and reflects the surface as a of game of mirrors.

The bottom of New Zealand's Blue Lake

The photographs were part of project to generate environmental awareness.

In a couple of decades, these photographs will be the only thing left of many of these glaciers. I believe it’s important to have a visual legacy of what the world looks like.

Related Articles