Time Out in Tekapo

Photography by: TOURISM NEW ZEALAND/MARK GEE/ROB SUISTED/CHRISTCHURCHNZ.COM/MT DOBSON SKI AREA/HEATHER WHELAN


Lake Tekapo is a turquoise gem in the legendary Mackenzie region’s crown, and with our borders closed to international visitors, now is the perfect time to enjoy this beautiful area.

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Tekapo Springs

Located at 710 metres above sea level, Tekapo’s alpine village overlooks Lake Tekapo – the ninth largest lake in New Zealand at 87 square kilometres. The area is a photographer’s paradise and a must-see destination for every visit to the Mackenzie region.

From the dazzling displays of lupins in summer, to the snow-covered alps in winter, every season provides a different view of the awe-inspiring scenery. Here’s a quick look at just some of the activities, beautiful places to stay, and great places to eat and drink while you’re there.

Stargazing

The Mackenzie region is home to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve and the incredible stars are simply breathtaking. You can stargaze by yourself but if you want to learn more about the night skies and use telescopes, there are two business that run stargazing experiences.

Silver River operates small tours on 25,000 acres of farmland near Tekapo. They also offer astrophotography tours. Tekapo Star Gazing is the only hot pools and stargazing experience in New Zealand, combining an introduction to the night skies with telescopes followed by a relaxing soak in a 38oC hot pool. The tour operates from the renowned facilities of Tekapo Springs.

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Mt Dobson

Ski and Snowboard

Tekapo has two ski areas that have a laid-back vibe, uncrowded terrain and some of the best views in the world.

Mount Dobson Ski Area is 45 minutes from Fairlie and provides an awesome day out with trails for all abilities, including a huge learners area with all day sun. Their Foote Rest Café serves great coffee and famous Fairlie Bakehouse pies.

Roundhill Ski Area is a 35-minute drive from Tekapo and has breathtaking views of Aoraki Mt Cook, the Southern Alps, and Lake Tekapo. There are a wide variety of trails as well as Australasia’s biggest vertical drop at 783 metres. The Base Lodge café and Von Brown Hut are both licensed and provide quality refreshments.

You can also fly onto, and ski, the Tasman Glacier or go backcountry ski touring in the Two Thumb Range, Liebig Range or on the glaciers of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

"A scenic flight affords spectacular views of this unique environment, from snowy mountains to braided rivers to numerous glaciers"

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Cycling the Alps 2 Ocean trail

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail 

The alternate start of this epic cycling trail begins in Tekapo and is an easy to intermediate grade along the 54 kilometres to Twizel. The section by Lake Pukaki is particularly scenic with Aoraki/Mount Cook visible on a clear day.

Aoraki/Mount Cook 

A visit to the Mackenzie Region isn’t complete without a pilgrimage to New Zealand’s tallest mountain, the mighty Aoraki/Mount Cook. It’s a 90-minute drive from Tekapo and offers many walking tracks which are suitable for people of all abilities. The Hooker Valley track is one of the most popular with spectacular mountain views, alpine streams and impressive swing bridges.

Aoraki/Mount Cook Village has good cafes and restaurants well as an excellent DOC centre with interesting information and displays on this Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area.

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The Church of the Good Shepherd

Church of the Good Shepherd

The iconic Church of the Good Shepherd is located on the shores of Lake Tekapo. The church was opened in 1935 and is the sole church in the township. The majestic setting attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a beautiful spot to simply soak in the views, feel connected to nature, and to take some lovely photographs.

Flightseeing 

See the Mackenzie in all its glory from above! A scenic flight affords spectacular views of this unique environment, from snowy mountains to braided rivers to numerous glaciers.

There are variety of different scenic flight options depending on your itinerary and budget.

Businesses operate from Lake Tekapo, Pukaki (Twizel), Glentanner and Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Dine and Drink

Tekapo has many fine eateries to suit all tastes. For breakfast, try The Greedy Cow for great coffee and delicious cabinet food, or enjoy the views from Jack Rabbit, the restaurant at the Godley Hotel. For dinner, try Kohan for authentic Japanese food, Our Dog Friday for burgers or Blue Lake for pizzas and craft beer.

Stay 

Lakefront Lodge and Backpackers/Holiday Park is set on the shores of Lake Tekapo, with magnificent views across the water to the mountains. It’s ideal for motorhomes with kitchen and bathroom facilities, drinking water, dump station, laundry and barbecues.

There is an NZMCA park available in Tekapo for members of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association.

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