Lake Monowai is a picturesque lake well known for its good fishing and hunting. It’s a very popular spot for campers and trampers. Monowai Power Station was opened 1 May 1925 and it still services the Southland District. It is one of the oldest and most scenic power stations in New Zealand.
Lake Monowai in Fiordland National Park is an object lesson to power planners. Raised in 1925, the lake still has an unsightly shoreline, even if up the lake where the banks are steeper the consequences have been less disastrous. The lake is noted for its brown trout, but the „drowned forest“ makes fishing from the lake shore difficult. Tracks lead to Rodger Inlet (31/2 hrs) and to Clark Hut on the Grebe River via Green Lake (9 hrs).
Monowai may be a corruption of Manokiwai („fixed channel full of water“), a reference to the depth of water in the long narrow lake despite the lack of any large rivers flowing into it. Some aver it is a corruption of Monoao, the Maori name for the grass tree (Dracophyllum subulatum) commonly found around the lake shore.