Kiwis left puzzled after tourist hotspot Lake Wakatipu turns 'neon green'

Queenstown Lakes District Council is rushing to investigate why one of its most iconic lakes is turning neon green.

Auckland tourist Georgia Rose first spotted the bright green liquid pouring out of one of the town's stormwater drains about 3pm today.

The council was unaware of the situation when contacted by the Herald this afternoon, however they had since found the source and taken samples for testing.

Shocked by what she saw, she said the water was going directly into Lake Wakatipu and slowly spreading across the beach and about 5m out into the lake.

The unusual sight had also drawn the curiosity of a large number of tourists who had gathered around the lake edge to capture what was going on.

The water appears to be gushing out of one of the town's stormwater drains. Photo / Georgia Rose
Photo / Georgia Rose

"It's flocked hundreds of tourists to this end of the beach to take videos. There's quite a crowd."

The water was pouring out of a pipe near the children's playground by Queenstown Gardens, she said.

Curious as to why the water was green, she said they followed a stream back through the gardens to try to work out where it was coming from. That's when they spotted the drain.

"It's right on the lakefront at Lake Wakatipu.

The neon green liquid is now rushing into Lake Wakatipu. Photo / Georgia Rose
Photo / Georgia Rose

"It's coming from the same body of water. We kind of followed it and it's coming through the stormwater drains, from the centre of the city, and it's just pouring into the lake right now.

"It's gone green, quite far down the beach."

Rose said the water seemed to be changing all of the water colour and wasn't sitting on top.

She hadn't touched the water but said she hadn't noticed a peculiar smell.

"I haven't touched it actually because I wasn't sure what it was. I haven't noticed any smell, I'm not sure what it is."

A council spokesperson said their contractors had traced the location of the source back to Horne Creek near the Stone Bridge on Templeton Way, by the library.

The green stream flowed into Lake Wakatipu. Photo / Supplied

Initial indications were that the substance was poured directly into the creek.

"If anyone has any information about this, please contact the QLDC customer services team as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, our contractors have isolated the source and a clean-up is under way."

While the mystery of the green water is yet to be solved, the neon green water resembles the artwork of Olafur Eliasson.

In 1998 the Icelandic-Danish artist would pour a water soluble dye into public rivers for his Green River series.

So it is possible that the unknown substance in New Zealand could be a copy-cat. Hopefully the mystery is solved soon.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission. Additional reporting by The Hits.