Deep Cove, New Zealand

Deep Cove, New Zealand
Deep Cove from above, near the Manapouri Power Station outlet.

Deep Cove is an arm of Doubtful Sound, a deep indentation in the southwest coast of New Zealand's South Island. Along with the Hall Arm, which lies to the southwest of Deep Cove, it forms one of the two most remote parts of the sound from the Tasman Sea, with its mouth being 32 kilometres (20 mi) from the mouth of Doubtful Sound. Elizabeth Island lies close to the junction of Deep Cove and the Hall Arm. The cove is home to several notable waterfalls, notably Helena Falls and Lady Alice Falls.

Until the 1960s, Deep Cove was only accessible from the sea or via the Wilmot Pass walking track. In 1964, however, the cove saw the start of considerable activity as it became an important part of the Manapouri Hydroelectricity Project as the site of the tailrace tunnel from Lake Manapouri.[1] A 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) tunnel connects the cove with the lake. The tunnel was completed in late 1969, with the power station became operational the following year. A second tunnel was started in 1997 and became operational in 2002.

The discharge of clear fresh water has had an impact on fauna and flora by letting light into the lower layers of the sound.[2] Nevertheless, this is an area naturally high in fresh water inflows (7.6 metres of rain falls annually). In the 1980s an application was made to extract and ship the water overseas but the project did not proceed.

Vegetation and wildlife

The wildlife in this area include dolphins and birds. Introduced species include mice, rats and hare. The Deep Cove watershed is heavily forested with Nothofagus (beech) trees, a large variety of understory shrubs and ferns being present.


  1. ^ F. Lawrence Bennett. 2003. The management of construction: a project life cycle approach, Published by Elsevier, 316 pages ISBN 0750652543, 9780750652544
  2. ^ A Doubtful future - New Zealand Listener, 27 September 2008

Coordinates: 45°27′S 167°09′E / 45.45°S 167.15°E / -45.45; 167.15

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