Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a lakeside resort village in the Mackenzie Country in the South Island of New Zealand. It gets its name from one of the Southern Lakes in the Southern Alps.


Surrounded by mountains and far from the glare of city lights, Lake Tekapo's cloud-free skies make it the best place in the Southern Hemisphere to see the night sky. Local light-pollution laws require all exterior night-time lighting to shine down onto the ground, rather than into the sky. World heritage status is currently being sought for the area as the world's first starlight preservation area.

Get in

It is about 60 km by road, north of Twizel on State Highway 8, the Central Southern Alps Highway, three hours south of Christchurch and three hours north of Queenstown.

Bus services to and from Lake Tekapo:


Church of the Good Shepherd


View toward the north end of Lake Tekapo from the top of Mt. John

There's excellent and relatively easy hiking around Lake Tekapo. Two tracks to the top of Mt. John starts near the western end of town (right before and right after Tekapo Springs). The shorter path takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to the top, following a switchback trail through some pine forest, while the longer path (taking 1.5-2 hr) climbs more gradually along the lake shore, before doubling back to climb up to the top from the north. At the top of the hill you can follow a short loop track around the observatory for excellent views toward the Southern Alps, or stop at the cafe there for some excellent hot chocolate.

Another 1.5-2 hr hike - the Peninsula Walkway - starts a short bit north of Mt John (most easily reached by car), and takes you around the peninsula which lies halfway along the length of the lake. This is a relatively new hike, and the path hasn't really been worn out yet. Make certain you're following the poles rather than sheep tracks which can divert in different directions altogether. This hike is closed from October to December for lambing.

There are also various organized activities:





Motel and hotel

Bed and breakfast

Go next

Routes through Lake Tekapo

Omarama  S  E  Fairlie Timaru

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, November 25, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.