Take in awe-inspiring views of rugged mountains by day and dazzling stars by night at the township on the edge of this magnificent glacial lake.
Spend a few days in reverence of New Zealand’s majestic Southern Alps, the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and one of the most spectacular night skies you will ever see. Trek through the mountains on horseback, relax in soothing hot springs and take your own picture of New Zealand’s most photographed church.
Many people only spend a short time in Lake Tekapo, stopping here on a tour to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and admire the church’s stunning mountain surroundings. However, a longer trip will reveal the charms of this alpine town where you can unwind fishing for salmon in the streams and hike through the forest.
The views across the lake framed by towering snow-capped peaks are simply mesmerizing on a clear day. The unusual milky-blue color of the water is due to the lake’s fine rock sediment, created over time by glacial movement.
One of the best places to overlook the lake is Tekapo Springs at the foot of Mount John. Soak in four different naturally heated pools and treat yourself to a massage. Stay into the evening and watch the spectacular night sky appear above you. Lake Tekapo is a designated UNESCO Dark Sky Spot; join an astronomy tour to learn about the clear constellations above.
In winter, the nearby Roundhill or Mount Dobson ski areas offer great skiing conditions. Back in town, enjoy a hearty meal at one of the restaurants or hotels. Stop for a drink and chat to the locals about life in the area.
Finally, don’t miss the Sheepdog Statue near the church. This pays tribute to the role the collie has played in helping sheep farmers survive in the tough terrain.
By car, Lake Tekapo is around 3 hours south of Christchurch and 3 hours north of Queenstown. Stop here for a night or two on your tour through the South Island, or make a daytrip from nearby Timaru.