Insider knowledge: Tekapo travel tips

By: Janice Nicholas


Nothing beats local knowledge and MCD was lucky enough to receive Tekapo resident Janice Nicholas's suggestions for getting the best from Tekapo...

Insider knowledge: Tekapo travel tips
Begin your time in Tekapo with a drive to see the famous dog statue.

Firstly, you'll need at least two to four days just to relax and see the main attractions.

I'd suggest beginning with a drive to the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie dog statue on the lakefront on Pioneer Drive. Merino sheep farming is the main type of farming in this area and the Collie dog was used by the pioneers.

Then visit the stunning hot pools and spa at Tekapo Springs, in Lakeside Drive, near the campgrounds, and have a relaxing massage or treatment. It's all about relaxing and breathing in the high country air and enjoying the moment. There is a giant waterslide in summer and in winter there is ice skating.

A walkway up Mt John starts to the left of Tekapo Springs. You can also drive up to the Astro Café on Mt John from the first road out of Tekapo on Godley Peaks Road. It is a winding, narrow road to the top but well worth the drive for one of the best views anywhere in the world.

Next on my list of my favourite things to do is visit Air Safaris at Tekapo Airport and take one of its world-famous flights up to the top of Lake Tekapo, over the Godley River, over Lilybank Station, Godley Glacier, and into the West Coast to the Murchison, Franz Josef, and Fox glaciers, returning over Tasman Glacier and Mt Cook. Then back over Lake Alexandrina to Tekapo. Simply breathtaking! Read the comments in the visitors' book while you are there.

If you are a keen golfer there is the new Cairns Golf Course, which uses the concept of the old Scottish courses with minimal earthworks. It offers outstanding views and is well worth a look.

We have great walking and cycling tracks around the village, as well as horse riding, trout fishing, boating, photography (mountains, sunsets, sunrise, autumn colours, and lake and sky vistas), and skiing at Round Hill Ski field in winter.

The main accommodation for campervans is at Lake Tekapo Motels and Holiday Park and Lakefront Lodge, situated close to the lake, Tekapo Springs, and the walkway up to Mt John. There is also, of course, the generous-sized Tekapo Camping Ground.

Food outlets are aplenty, with restaurants, cafes, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Kiwi-style foods.

The beautiful turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo (the colour is from the suspended glacial flour) will leave you with some very special memories.

It is only a 30-minute drive to Lake Pukaki and then on to the famous Mt Cook National Park.

I do hope you enjoy your trip to our special part of the South Island.

Check out our guide to Mackenzie Country and subscribe to Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine here.

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