Top 10 Ways To Explore And Enjoy Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

things to do in lake tekapo nz

New Zealand is home to many dreamy and picturesque destinations. One of these is Lake Tekapo, which is situated southwest of Christchurch, within the Mackenzie Basin. It’s both a lake and a mountainous region, with some dramatic natural formations.

Lake Tekapo is also home to several notable landmarks, such as the Church of the Good Shepard and its accompanying sheepdog monument. The lake itself is exquisite, with its turquoise waters that have a milky hue. Furthermore, Lake Tekapo attracts sky gazers, who gather to watch the clear night sky and dazzling southern lights. Let’s delve deeper into this magical place!

1. Feel the magic of Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Source: Photo by user Man21 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s no secret that Lake Tekapo’s beauty comes from its gorgeous turquoise waters. And they seem to contrast incredibly well with the areas brown hillside. Many tourists and sky gazers congregate in this area, mainly for the lake and the bright stars, during the evenings. It’s preferable to visit during clear sunny days, as the views of Lake Tekapo and its surroundings look best.

Lake Tekapo

Address: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Website: Lake Tekapo

2. Church of the Good Shepherd

Posted by Sue Malson Jones on Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A post shared by Ashleigh Yam (@ashyaaam) on

The Church of the Good Sheperd can be found right on the shores of Lake Tekapo. It’s a stone building of historic significance, as the Duke of Gloucester first laid the foundation, in 1935. Still in operation as a church, it also attracts many tourists, who admire its architecture and quaint style.

Church of the Good Shepherd

Address: Pioneer Drive, Lake Tekapo 7949, New Zealand

Website: Church of the Good Shepherd

3. Explore Lake Tekapo with Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking

After a long winter holiday, this was our first trek back for the 2014/15 season, and what a stunner it was! Can't wait...

Posted by Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking on Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The areas surrounding Lake Tekapo are quite vast and it would take ages to see everything, on foot. One could use a vehicle, but there are certain hilly areas that are difficult to negotiate. Therefore, there’s no better way to take in all the natural beauty of the region, than on horseback. Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking gives visitors the opportunity to do just that, with the help of experienced guides.

Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking

Address: Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo 7945, New Zealand

Website: Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking

4. View the landscape from Mount John University Observatory

#Mount John / Nouvelle-Zélande

Posted by Manon Katzenjammer on Tuesday, 11 April 2017

If you’re willing to brave the short climb up to the Mount John Observatory, you’ll be at an excellent vantage point to view Lake Tekapo and the surrounding areas. The views you’ll witness are stunning, to say the least, but keep in mind there’s an 8 AUD (5.94 USD) fee, collected by the university, to access the grounds.

Another reason why so many folks flock to this observatory is to witness the southern lights, or aurora australis, which share a striking resemblance to the northern lights.

Mount John University Observatory

Address: 422 Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Website: University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory

5. Follow the stars with the Earth and Sky Twilight Tour

Welcome to our latest Official Partner - Earth & Sky, Lake Tekapo! Here's some more info: Earth & Sky, Mt John...

Posted by Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail on Thursday, 4 July 2013

There’s no better way to view the stars than by visiting a professionally run and technologically advanced observatory. The Earth and Sky Twilight Tour operates from 10 am through to 10 pm, and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the stars. There’s also a café on the premises, which offers their patrons a wide range of snacks and beverages.

Earth and Sky Twilight Tour

Address: Twizel Main Street, 7945, Fairlie-Tekapo Rd, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Website: Earth & Sky

6. Take a snapshot of the Mackenzie Sheepdog Statue

Mackenzie Sheep Dog Statue

Posted by Natkom Ch on Thursday, 22 October 2015

Most travellers love animals and are bound to feel warm and fuzzy once they set their eyes on the sheepdog statue, situated near the Church of the Good Shepherd. It’s both a famous statue and a landmark, meant to commemorate all sheepdogs who help farmers by herding sheep.

Mackenzie Sheepdog Statue

Address: Pioneer Drive, located near the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

7. Relax and enjoy the water entertainment at Tekapo Springs

Posted by South Canterbury on Monday, 20 March 2017

Most activities at Lake Tekapo seem to revolve around sightseeing. However, it’s possible to take time out and relax as well.

The multipurpose resort, Tekapo Springs, features a spa and hot spring, ideal for tired tourists. There’s also a tube park, waterslide, and skating rink that should get the kids excited. Finally, Tekapo Springs is also popular for its evening sky gazing events and is a good alternative to the observatory.

Tekapo Springs

Address: 6 Lakeside Drive, Lake Tekapo 7945, New Zealand

Website: Tekapo Springs

8. Ski the slopes of Roundhill Ski Area

It's an awesome bluebird day up here, not a cloud in the sky. All our lifts are turning and snow is great. There's still...

Posted by Roundhill Ski Area on Friday, 21 August 2015

Just because Lake Tekapo is located in the southern hemisphere, doesn’t mean you can’t experience certain things that are common in colder northern climates, such as skiing. Some of the hills surrounding Lake Tekapo are covered in snow, making them suitable for skiing, in most weather conditions. The Roundhill Ski Area offers good skiing opportunities for beginners, as there’s a large enough plateau with smooth elevation.

Roundhill Ski Area

Address: 2544 Lilybank Rd, Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Website: Roundhill Ski Area

9. Take to the skies with Air Safaris

The best "Waitangi Weekend" weather in Tekapo, the lake is the place to be. Air Safaris

Posted by Skoot App on Friday, 5 February 2016

Feeling too lazy to make your way up the hills surrounding Lake Tekapo? No problem, helicopter rides are available, that will transport you to the top of the hills. And, if you wish to view Lake Tekapo and the entire region from the sky, then plane trips are also available. The duration of the trips vary and are priced accordingly. Budget-conscious travellers should opt for the shorter 30-minute flight, across the lake.

Air Safaris

Address: State Highway 8, Tekapo Aerodrome, Lake Tekapo 7945, New Zealand

Website: Air Safaris

10. Test your golfing skills at the Cairns Golf Course

Posted by The Cairns Tekapo on Monday, 30 June 2014

Wondering if it’s possible to golf at Lake Tekapo? Your wishes are granted, as there’s a beautiful golf estate nearby, with stunning views of the entire periphery. The Cairns Golf Course is a fun course, meant to be enjoyed by enthusiasts and new golfers, alike. 9 holes will cost you 20 AUD (14.84 USD), and the 18-hole course is 30 AUD (22.27 USD), which is reasonably priced.

The Cairns Golf Course

Address: Mt John Historic Homestead, State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Website: The Cairns

Lake Tekapo is all about its beautiful surroundings

Without any doubt, Lake Tekapo is one of the most stunning destinations in New Zealand. The unique and gorgeous lake is the centrepiece, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, that are breathtaking. It’s great to visit during a clear day, to truly marvel at the scenery. But evening visits at the observatory or Tekapo Springs, to observe the night sky, are a must!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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