Kaiapoi Lakes is a 25-hectare native reserve of District significance located at the northern end of Kaiapoi, 2 kilometers from the town’s main center.
In pre-European times the area now occupied by Kaiapoi Lakes was well inhabited as the Kaiapohia Pa nearby to the north was the main settlement for the Ngai Tahu in the central South Island. Several Kaianga (villages) had gardens supporting the fortified Pa located in the immediate vicinity of the Lakes. Because of this history, the Lakes are located within an area that contains the highest concentration of recorded archaeological sites in Canterbury.
The reserve is bisected by the Main North Road and deep lakes, formed from disused gravel pits, are located on either side of the road. The eastern-most lake is a significant breeding ground for rare waterbird species such as the New Zealand Scaup and the New Zealand Shoveler. This birdlife attracts international visitors to the area. This lake is also a significant site for coarse fishing with a Discrete (species limited to coarse and native fish) Coarse Fishery established by the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council.
The south-western most lake has been primarily developed for casual recreation and the tranquil environment is enjoyed by picnickers, walkers, and kayakers.
Significant planting of native species has been carried out over the past ten years and overall, a very pleasant environment has been created by the mature trees and plants, birdlife, tranquillity of the Lakes, and their surroundings.