Lake Tekapo

Photo taken by: The Planet D (Flying Kiwi Traveller)

Tours at Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie Country - Tour Highlights

The drive to Lake Tekapo through the Mackenzie Country alone is a highlight before even seeing Lake Tekapo. Imagine driving through rolling hill countryside and then, suddenly barren dry land, and in the distance a row of Alps. These are our Southern Alps and they have a dusting of snow on year round and, in general look pretty majestic in the backdrop of Mackenzie country. 

If you come here in November/ December, you’ll be in for a treat as the scenery is even more mind blowing with Lupin flowers in abundance. As you drive over the last hill before dropping into Lake Tekapo, your eyes become fixated on this brilliant illuminating blue lake - Lake Tekapo. Apparently the sediment at the bottom of the lake gets mixed with the glacier fed water and this is what brings out such a beautiful turquoise colour. Maybe all of these factors are what makes this area of New Zealand one of the most photographed places in the country.
 
There are three lakes in the Mackenzie Basin, the largest is actually Lake Pukaki where we camp for our wilderness camp. 
Lake Tekapo however, is where most of the tourism and action takes place with hot pools, horse riding, kayaking and even star gazing. The skies here in the Mackenzie basin are some of the most unpolluted night skies in the world. In fact, the government wanted to preserve these skies so much that they put a legislation out that all local residents in Lake Tekapo, must have certain street lights that don’t pollute the night sky. 
If you have extra time in New Zealand, make sure you come back to Tekapo and book in for a midnight star gazing tour. You get to stand on top of Mt John overlooking Lake Tekapo and gaze at the southern night sky with all the science led telescopes - definitely a unique experience to remember. 

Time spent here while on a Flying Kiwi tour:

During our Summer tours (Oct-Apr) and Winter tours (July-Aug) we spend 1 night here 

Tours that take you here:

BOTH ISLAND TOURS:    SOUTH ISLAND TOURS:    WINTER TOURS:
Ultimate Explorer - 27 or 28 days      Summer Blast - 16, 17 or 19 days     Alpine Explorer - 9 days 
Total Aotearoa - 24 days Southern Light - 9 or 10 days  Ski & Snow Explorer - 6 days 
Grand Traverse - 15 days    


Where we stay: 

Summer Tours
Tonight we stay at the edge of Lake Pukaki. Tonight, there is not upgrade options, just you and your tent at one of our amazing bush camps. Rated as a million-star accommodation. You’ll discover why!

- Facilities: Toilet

Winter Tours
Tekapo Lakefront Lodge Backpackers – A cosy accommodation just across the road from the beautiful Lake Tekapo.

- Large kitchen
- BBQ area
- Laundry

Things not to miss:

During our Winter Tours keep warm diving into a hot pool (included). It’s actually the best way to end a day full of enjoyment in the snow. These pools offer you an incredible and privileged balcony to contemplate the beauty of this mountainous area while you heat your body after a full the day in the ski field.

Things to do:

Prepare your camera and take a stroll around the lake. You’ll be spoilt with views of the Southern Alps and the lake. If you come here in November/ December, you’ll be in for a treat as the scenery is even more mind blowing with Lupin flowers in abundance.

In the evening, be ready to go stargazing. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is the world’s biggest international park in the sky, an almost light-pollution-free area. 

 

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Free Things to Do:

Visit the Good Shepherd church and the McKenzie Sheep Dog Statue, two of the symbols of the lakeside. There is a short walk between them. The first one appears in many of the NZ most sold postcards. Many people want to marry there (normal, because is an amazing spot!), so if you are keen, make sure to book it in advance! The dog monument is dedicated to the sheep dogs, an invaluable support for all the shepherds. 

Insiders Tip:

Its going to be cold but it’s a bit of a tradition at Flying Kiwi that everyone swims at Lake Pukaki. A photo having a bath with the snow capped Southern Alps behind is a must have for any traveler.

 

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Hiking Options:

There are a number of excellent shorter walks in this region and some great longer options - excellent views assured!

Cycle Options:

Lake Pukaki Ride - From camp you have the option of biking up to Pete’s Lookout. A 15km ride that takes you through salmon and lavender farms around Lake Pukaki before finishing at Pete’s Lookout which offers spectacular views of the area.

Our pick of Lake Tekapo's Top Activities:

Earth and Sky Featured Image

Earth and Sky Observatory - Mt John 

Spend the evening discovering what the southern sky has to offer, and experience the thrill of looking deep into the cosmos through the powerful telescopes. 

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Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three tiered Hot Pools landscaped in local greywacke rock and surrounded by the regions native alpine plants to create a natural setting. Pool temperatures range from 37 - 39 degrees Celsius. The pools have benched seating so you can sit back, relax and soak.