Lake Tekapo is nestled in the heart of New Zealand's South Island. the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand. It covers an area of 83 square kilometres, and is at an altitude of 710 metres above sea level.
Lake Tekapo is famous for it’s beautiful turquoise blue colour. This is a product of the surrounding glaciers. The glaciers in the headwaters of Lake Tekapo grind rocks into a fine dust on their journey down towards the lake. The resulting particulate, called “rock flour,” is suspended in the water and causes the magnificent turquoise.
The Lake is also famous for it’s lupins. The lupins found around Lake Tekapo have beautiful tall pink and purple flowers. Lupins are not native to the area but planted by a local woman over 70 years ago and now have become one of the areas beautiful features.
Mid-November to December are the best time to see the lupins and one of the best photographic spots is at a view point called Adrian’s Place on the way to Mount John Observatory on Godley Peaks Road.
And Mount John Observatory is another must do when in the area. New Zealand's premier astronomical research observatory. It is situated at 1,029 m at the northern end of the Mackenzie Basin. There are 6 telescopes including the country’s biggest which can observe 50 million stars each night.
Part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount John is one of the best places in the world to observe the planets, stars, galaxies and solar systems. It is also considered one of the most accessible observatories in the world. Tours and viewings are available.
And of course you can’t visit Lake Tekapo without a stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie region, the foundation stone was laid in 1935 and the builders were instructed the site was to be left undisturbed and that even the matagouri bushes surrounding the building were to remain.
Visitors are welcome to attend a service and this is the home to many weddings – of course!
Just along the way is a statue commissioned by local farmers and erected in gratitude to and celebration of the sheepdog. Life-sized, and standing proudly on a stone plinth, it’s a tribute to the invaluable contribution the collie has made to farming in the Mackenzie Country.
And if that isn’t enough for you then you can always enjoy hot springs, play areas for the kids, a snow tube park and a day spa at Tekapo Springs.
A small New Zealand lake with a lot to offer!