A water core photonic crystal Fresnel fiber exploiting a hole distribution on zone plates of a cylindrical waveguide was developed and characterized. This fiber has similar guiding properties as the pristine air-hole guiding fiber although a large loss edge ~900nm is observed indicating that the bandgap associated with Fresnel guidance has shifted to longer wavelengths. The absorption bands of the water in the region of the NIR were observed. The application to biosensing is discussed. ©2005 Optical Society of America.