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Lake Tekapo

Photo © Ross-Lori

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand South Island Canterbury Region Lake Tekapo



Return to Lake Tekapo

Return to Lake Tekapo

© All Rights Reserved Sander

Lake Tekapo is a beautiful stretch of water in the Canterbury Region on New Zealand's South Island. Together with Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau they are located at the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin. Located at about 700 metres above sea level, it is around 83 square kilometres big and is a major attraction in the region.

Lake Tekapo is also the name of the town along the shores of the lake itself and has become more and more popular over the years, attracting visitors with beautiful views across the turquoise colours of the lake, surrounded by hills and mountains.



Sights and Activities

  • Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Tekapo High Country Trek
  • Scenic Flights
  • Fly Fishing
  • Helicopter Flights
  • Hiking to the top of Mt. John for views of the Southern Alps (45-60 minutes via the pine forest, or 1.5-2 hours via the lake shore); starts on the west end of town, just before or just after Tekapo Springs.
  • Hiking to Cowan's Hill for views over the town and the lake; starts right after the bridge.
  • Hiking the Peninsula Walkway (1.5-2 hours round trip); starts north of Mt. John, needing a car to get there. Closed from October to December for lambing.
  • Due to its high altitude and distance from urban areas, Lake Tekapo is a popular destination for stargazers. There are overnight watches and on a clear night the area boasts one of the most impressive night skies around.




The best weather at Lake Tekapo obviously can be found during the summer months of December through early March. But even then you have to consider the possibility of rapidly changing conditions. As it's located on the South Island and at 700 metres above sea level, even in summer it can get very chilly even during the day.
Most winter days will have daytime temperatures around freezing, and be snow-free (though there's generally lots of snow on the surrounding mountain ranges), but this can of course vary wildly.



Getting There

By Train

There is no train link to Lake Tekapo.

By Car

Lake Tekapo lies along route 8 between the townships of Twizel and Fairlie. The township is a popular stopover for people travelling from Christchurch towards Mount Cook or Queenstown.

By Bus

Several operators serve Lake Tekapo, with buses going to Christchurch, Queenstown, Mount Cook and Wanaka. These include Atomic Travel, Intercity, and Southern Link Coaches. Naked Bus and Cook Connection have additional services to Christchurch and Mount Cook respectively.




There are several small eaterys around the ISite next to the lake. There are a few cafes, restaurants and a fish and chips takeaway. These places are the only places to purchase food for several miles around as Lake Tekapo is quite isolated.




YHA Lake Tekapo3 Simpson laneHostel90
LakeFront Backpackers Lodge2 Lakeside driveHOSTEL86

There are numerous options in all budget ranges, from backpacker hostels to motels, hotels and B&B's.


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This is version 15. Last edited at 13:54 on Oct 19, 13 by Sander. 2 articles link to this page.

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