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Luscious Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, one of the jewels of Mackenzie Country, is a charming alpine village in the heart of the South Island high country. Fabulous in summer and jaw-droppingly awesome in winter, Lake Tekapo owes both its name and its fame to a glacial lake surrounded by snow-tipped mountains.

In winter, the Mount Dobson Ski Area on the southern face of the Two Thumb Mountain Range offers over 400 hectares of snowy bliss. Twizel’s Ohau Ski Area near Lake Ohau is another beaut, too. While shopping isn’t the prime attraction of the area, there are a few gems to visit at any time of year. Try The Craft Box for cute, handmade souvenirs, Kiwi Treasures for traditional goodies and Run 77 for some merino wool and a hot cup o’ Joe. For those who enjoy a spot of camping, the area near Irishman Stream is heavenly.

Lake Tekapo’s Top 10

10. Mount John Observatory Pop in and ask the resident astronomy nerds for a look through the massive telescope.

5. Alpine Springs and Winter Park This place has a whole bevy of activities to keep you entertained. Play some ice hockey before sliding into the hot pools.

9. Mount Cook Salmon Farm Take a cool tour to learn about the farming process, then head to the shop to buy dinner.

4. Roundhill This ski area has the best views of Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie Basin.

8. Godley Valley One of the best spots for a bumpy ride on a mountain bike. The terrain is tough, but the views make up for it.

3. Lake Alexandrina The surrounds of this lake are perfect for a challenging bike ride, horseback ride or just a regular ol’ picnic.

7. Main Street You’ll find a bunch of restaurants and cosy bars along this strip. Don’t forget the shopping, either!

2. Mount John Make your way to the top to get the most magnificent 360° views of the entire village.

6. Jet boating Want something a tad more hardcore than a lazy cruise? Whiz around the waters for one hell of an adrenaline rush.

1. Cruise Take a cruise along the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and breathe in that icy fresh air. Top it off with a visit to Motuariki Island.

Lake Tekapo Events

Lovers of astronomy will have an absolute ball during International Dark Skies Week, held every April.

June’s Great Lake Tekapo Mountain Bike Race is quite the hefty challenge, with competitors taking a mammoth 90km (56mi) scenic adventure ride through Lake Tekapo’s rocky surrounds.

When To Go

Tekapo experiences warm summers and ultra-frosty winters. Expect the average summer temp to hit around 24°C (75°F).

The average winter temperature settles at around 2°C (36°F) in the day. Winter nights can dip as low as -10°C (14°F), so rug up!

If you’re visiting in winter (which we recommend!), check the weather reports and come prepared for very cold conditions. Brrr…

Getting Around

Driving yourself is best. You’ll not only have the freedom to move around at your own pace, but you’ll also have the chance to explore further out and places that the bus service can’t reach.

If you don’t want to drive around, buses/coaches are your best bet. There are quite a few services, including Southern Link Coaches, which will take you to most spots in and around the area.

Hotels in Tekapo

3 hotels in Tekapo, NZ

1 Peppers Bluewater Resort Tekapo

5 stars
4.2 / 5 55 reviews

State Highway 8 Map

Set amidst Southern Alps landscapes with breathtaking views of Lake Tekapo, the luxurious Peppers Bluewater Resort Tekapo makes for a relaxing retreat for vacations, weddings and conferences in... More

2 Mantra Lake Tekapo

4 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

1 Beauchamp Place Map

At the Mantra Lake Tekapo Hotel, you are assured of a unique and special lifestyle perfectly geared towards health and wellbeing. GeneralOpening onto tranquil private terraces and courtyards, the... More


3 stars
3.6 / 5 46 reviews


Offering a wide variety of facilities and services, The Godley Resort Hotel Tekapo is set in a great location and is an ideal place for business as well as leisure travellers. LocationThis hotel... More