A New Zealand Lake has been named among the world's clearest waters by an American travel publication.

Lake Pukaki, an alpine lake in the South Island, was named the third clearest by Conde Nast Traveler, coming in behind the rivers in Bonito, Brazil, and the Italian seawaters around the island of Lampedusa in Italy.

The lake "is such an unearthly shade of blue that it looks like a scene out of a movie," wrote Conde Nast, adding that it did in fact feature as the backdrop in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies.

"That frosty, Gatorade-level blue is no special effect: the lake derives its hue from glacial flour - a fine silt of pulverised rock suspended in the water that reflects blue light and give the lake its luminous appearance."


Along with Lakes Tekapo and Ohau, Lake Pukaki is one of three roughly parallel alpine lakes running along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island.

Aoraki / Mt Cook can be seen from the lake's southern edge.

Coming in behind Lake Pukaki were the waters around Australia's Great Barrier Reef, followed by luxury tourist destination the Maldives.