Something about a church and good shepherds and sheep dogs, right? Right! But there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Nestled in the heart of Mackenzie Country in the South Island, and laying claim to be our highest alpine lake, Lake Tekapo is grass roots, heritage, pristine New Zealand at its delightful best.
1. The sheer beauty will amaze you
There are not enough adjectives to describe the scale of the stunning surrounds in this little corner of Godzone. From colourful lupin displays in the warmer months, to the turquoise waters and soaring alps beyond – wow, photo opps are everywhere you look!
2. You’ll be blown away by the starry, starry night
Lake Tekapo has one of the best night-sky views anywhere in New Zealand, and even the world. The clarity, and volume, of stars visible to the naked eye is absolutely breathtaking.
3. You can catch a glimpse at what lies beyond
Towering above Lake Tekapo is Mt John and the Mt John University Observatory, home of New Zealand’s largest telescope. Take a day or night time tour with Earth and Sky and unlock the wonders of the universe from your own backyard.
4. You’ll see why, as kiwis, we are truly blessed
The Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935, is one of the most photographed churches in all of New Zealand. It’s an icon popular with kiwis and international travellers, flocking (pun-intended), to get a glimpse through the altar window, which perfectly frames spectacular views of the lake and mountains.
5. You can hang your hat at a working farm
Dating back to the mid 1850’s the Mackenzie District, surrounding Lake Tekapo, has harboured a rich history of sheep farming (and stealing). The remains of the original Tekapo Station can still be seen when the lake is low, but for your own taste of farm life, why not stay in Shearer’s Quarters at Sawdon Station.
6. Have your picture taken with man’s best friend
Standing proudly on the lake shores near the Church of the Good Shepherd is the Bronze Sheepdog, a memorial to working collie dogs. Commissioned in the late 1960’s by Mackenzie Country locals, it’s a tribute to the valuable role these dogs play in the lives of the working farm.
7. You can immerse yourself in a wintery wonderland
Tekapo Springs is the ultimate family holiday hub with three tiered hot pools, an ice skating rink, tubing park and day spa. After you’ve exhausted, or refreshed yourself, with those activities, fill your tummies at the wonderful Tahr Bar & Café.
8. You can carve it up on the mountains
Hit the slopes at Roundhill Ski Area or Mt Dobson for some winter action. Roundhill’s gentle undulations are superb for beginners, families and groups. Mt Dobson caters to all levels of skiers and you can park in the highest car park in NZ (1725m above sea level).
9. You can get a taste of the real Middle Earth
Whilst the film sets have long since gone, it’s a great place to camp if you wish to absorb yourself in Middle Earth. Lake Pukaki, at the base of the dominating Aoraki Mount Cook, is an hour and a bit west of Lake Tekapo, and was the location of Lake Town in the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
10. There’s tons for you to do
When you’ve had enough of taking photos, why not turn your hand to one of the many other activities on offer. Take to the skies for a scenic tour over the alps with Air Safaris, join a horse trek, engage in Golf-Cross (a mix of rugby and golf) or take the kids for a round of mini golf. One thing’s for sure, you won’t get bored!