Lake Hāwea is located in the Otago Region of New Zealand, at an altitude of 348 metres. It covers an area of some 141 km² and is, at its deepest, 392 metres deep.
Lake Hāwea is named after a Māori tribe who preceded the Waitaha people in the area.
At its greatest extent, which is roughly along a north-south axis, Lake Hāwea is 35 kilometres long. It lies in a glacial valley formed during the last ice age, and is fed by the Hunter River. Nearby Lake Wanaka lies in a parallel glacial valley eight kilometres to the west. At their closest point (a rocky ridge called The Neck), the lakes are only 1000 metres apart.
Lake Hāwea is dammed to the south by an ancient terminal moraine created some 10,000 years ago. In 1958 the lake was artificially raised by 20 metres to store more water for increased hydroelectric power generation at the Roxburgh Dam.
The only flat land around the lake is at its southern end, surrounding its outflow into the Hāwea River, a short tributary of the Clutha / Matau-au, which it joins near Albert Town. The settlement of Hāwea is found at the lake’s southern shore.
The lake is a popular resort, and is well used in the summer for fishing, boating and swimming. The nearby mountains and fast-flowing rivers allow for adventure tourism year-round, with jetboating and skiing nearby.