Lake Tekapo - Church of the Good Shepherd - Credit: Shutterstock/Shane WP Wongperk
Lake Tekapo is one of the most stunning places to visit in the Mackenzie Country
Situated approximately 3 hours south of Christchurch in the Makenzie Country is Lake Tekapo. Often a place to stop on a drive south (or north) along this scenic road – but have you thought about stopping and exploring what this alpine village has to offer!
Here are some fantastic reasons!
Aoraki Mt Cook National Park - Lake Pukaki - Credit: Will Patino
Hooker Valley Walk
One of New Zealand’s most stunning short walks within the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. This great track is ideal for all family members, being only 5km in length it is great for children and all levels of fitness as it winds its way past alpine streams and glaciers all with the shadow of the great Aoraki / Mount Cook.
As you walk across swing bridges you will enjoy views across Mueller Lake, crossing Hooker River you will pass between moraine ridges & humps. At the end of your walk you will be rewarded with amazing views over the iceberg filled Hooker Lake. Absolute spectacular views.
Best time to depart would be early morning – a time to visit with less trampers and the chance to catch the first rays of sunlight creeping through the Southern Alps.
Another great reason to do this first thing is to return to Lake Tekapo and reward yourselves with an afternoon at Tekapo Springs (see more on this below)
Hooker Valley Walk - Mount Cook National Park - Credit: Miles Holden
Fantastic family ski field with breathtaking views
Roundhill is a relaxed and family friendly ski-field, offering the most incredible views of Aoraki Mount Cook, the Southern Alps & Lake Tekapo. (Season Jul-Sep) With lots of beginners and intermediate runs this is the ideal place to come for the first timer. (For those family members who are experienced, the Heritage Express offers an off piste run, ‘Who’s your Daddy’ claimed to be the longest steepest slope in the Southern Hemisphere. The drive itself is worth the visit as you wind along the eastern side of stunning Lake Tekapo. Only 32km from Tekapo centre, it is an easy and scenic drive to the base. Full equipment hire is possible (with the exception of clothing) catering for all ages, including nutcrackers and harnesses for those riding the Heritage Express rope tow.
For a fun alternative to skiing or snowboarding how about trying a sled and head off on the designated snow tobogganing run!
Crisp cool days with the bluest of sky’s offering a stunning vista of the white snowy peaks – this ski location is hard to beat.
Roundhill Ski Field
Situated at the base of Mt John with iconic views across Lake Tekapo and the mountains beyond is the ultimate relaxation and recreation destination of Tekapo Springs.
Offering a range of incredible experiences that will suit the entire family – stopping here for a fun filled day or two is well worth the visit.
Open year round the complex has refreshing swimming pools to cool off in on a hot summer’s day; to the comforting hot water pools for a long soak to calm and relax you. Each pool is named after the Mackenzie regions famous iconic lakes, with each offering something different, from bench seating to lie back and relax on while soaking up the view, to massage jets to relieve any aches and pains from a day up skiing or hiking.
But wait there’s more! In winter you can also try your hand at ice skating at the International sized rink; or maybe the best activity yet is to grab a tube and snow tube down their magic carpet – such a fun activity for the entire family. (Maybe now is the time for Mum to sneak off and have a massage at the onsite Day spa!)
For something truly unique, come back in the evening where Tekapo Star Gazing is the only site in New Zealand to offer a guided star gazing and hot pool experience! With the clearest and darkest sky’s in the world, Lake Tekapo Springs offers the perfect location to be awed by the dazzling beauty of millions of stars while floating on a hammock in 38℃ degrees hot pools. Delivering a combination of astronomy and storytelling you are taken on a two-hour experience; first with a guide who introduces you to the Tekapo night’s sky, to the second half, where you have exclusive use of the hot pools to continue your unique star gazing experience.
Snow Tubing - Tekapo Springs
Heli-Hike Tasman Glacier
Take to the air and click on some crampons ..
Hike to explore the ‘white ice’ of New Zealand’s longest glacier at Aoraki Mount Cook. Fly high over the ice as your helicopter takes you from your Mt Cook airport base over stunning mountain ranges to the start of your hike.
Your crampons cut into the ice as your guided trek takes you over undulating terrain, discovering incredible features and landscapes of fluted ice, runnels, moulins and sinuous winding streamlets. Surrounded by the stunning peaks of the Southern Alps, Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman this is truly a bucket list adventure.
NOTE: The minimum age for children is 8 years and children must be confident enough on uneven terrain and follow the guides instructions.
Tasman Glacier Heli Hike with Tasman Guides.
Lupins in bloom
With their extraordinary colour and unique shape, the lupins in bloom are a popular sight to see in this part of the country. With the many shades of purple pink and lavender, the contrast of their colours against the stunning backdrop of mountains & turquoise lakes make it an iconic spot for that well sort after ‘Instagram’ shots.
Photographers from all around the world travel here during the blooming season (Dec-Feb) to get some stunning shots of our beautiful back yard. It is not uncommon for them to start blooming in November so if you are coming earlier you may get your beautiful shot without the crowds.
Lupines at Lake Tekapo credit: R7 /Shutterstock