Stop off at this charming church to enjoy stunning mountain views, appreciate some fine stone carving and learn its fascinating history.
Take in the exceptional views of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains with a visit to the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd. Explore the small building’s simple but charming main chamber and chat with the vicar about the history of the local area. Be sure to walk around the grounds, taking in magnificent alpine views.
The Church of the Good Shepherd was constructed in 1935 after local residents donated land and funds for the building. Until then, they had held religious services in their own homes. It was built entirely with stone from the shores of Lake Tekapo and designed to encompass one of the most spectacular views in the area through the altar window. The church is interdenominational; it is an active place of worship for three denominations.
Most visitors head straight for the clear-glass window in the altar, which perfectly frames the lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains. The view also includes the pine-covered Motuariki Island. Spend a while in the church’s peaceful main hall, where you will see a few small carvings and the simple altar. Note that you are not allowed to take photographs within the church.
Step outside and stroll around the church’s scenic grounds. Locals say this is the most photographed church in New Zealand. With the gleaming waters of the lake reflecting the peaks of the mountains, you’ll find it hard to resist taking a photo of your own.
The Church of the Good Shepherd is located 36 miles (58 kilometers) north of Twizel. The church is open daily and free to enter, although donations for the upkeep of the building are appreciated. Be aware that tours regularly stop here and the church can get busy, so it's best to come early if you want to enjoy the views in peace.