Lake Tekapo is a resort village and lake in the Mackenzie Country in the South Island of New Zealand.
Surrounded by mountains and far from the glare of city lights, Lake Tekapo's cloud free skies make it one of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to see the night sky. Local light-pollution laws require all exterior night-time lighting to shine down onto the ground, rather than into the sky. World heritage status is currently being sought for the whole area as the world's first starlight preservation area.
Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd
Lake Tekapo's about 60 km by road north of Twizel on State Highway 8 (the Central Southern Alps Highway), three hours south of Christchurch and three hours north of Queenstown.
Public bus services:
- The Church of the Good Shepherd that was built to the glory of God as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country with the foundation stone being laid by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, on 15 Jan 1935. There's an amazing view straight up the lake. ☎ +64 3 685-8389, Fax: +64 3 685-8185
- Mount John Observatory
- Chill out by the lake and take in the splendour of one of the most beautiful places you'll ever visit!
- Tekapo Trek 3-day guided alpine walk in the foothills of the Southern Alps, overlooking Lake Tekapo. [email protected] or ☎ +64 3 680-6736.
- Air Safaris ☎ 0800 806 880 (toll free) Fly over New Zealand's highest mountains and most spectacular alpine scenery.
- Bike Hire ☎ +64 3 680-6700
- Ski Roundhill
- Ski Mt Dobson
- Ice Skating, Ice Hockey, Curling ☎ +64 3 680-6550
- Day trips to Mount Cook
- Golf Mackenzie Golf Club ☎ +64 3 680-6830; Golf Cross Phone +64 3 680 6844; Minigolf, phone +64 3 680 6745
- Horse Trekking ☎ 0800 628 269
- Kayaking [email protected] ☎ 0800 840 740; [email protected]
- Salmon Farm Tours ☎ +64 3 435-0085
- Lake Tekapo Squash Club ☎ +64 3 680 6739
- Tekapo Helicopters ☎ +64 3 680 6229
- Earth & Sky Observatory Tours, (Beside the Godley Hotel - opposite Caltex), ☎ +64 3 680-6960, . 10:00-late. Come on an Earth & Sky tour at one of either of two observatories - the famous Mt John Observatory (a research station run by the University of Canterbury, now also hosting night tours and a stunning cafe) or our smaller, more private observatory nearby at Cowan's Hill. On clear nights we can show you the wonders of the night sky. If it's cloudy, come and see areas of the observatory normally closed to the public, and learn about the scientific work done here.
The stargazing tours are rapidly becoming one of the "must-do" activities for people coming to the South Island - both for locals and tourists alike. The weather is changeable here, so perhaps stay a few days to make sure you get a clear sky. To see the most stars, avoid the full moon: between five days after full moon and ten days before it will give the darkest skies. Check our website for more details! edit
- Tekapo Springs, 6 Lakeside Drive, ☎ +64 03 680-6550, . 10am - 9pm daily. The Tekapo Springs complex includes a complex containing three inviting hot pools with bench-side seating, private nooks and crannies, and massage jets. The temperature of the pools ranges from 36-40°C. Next to the pools is a sauna and steam room. Four fully-functional spa rooms provide massages, facials, pedicures, manicures and total body care, and each treatment booked gives complimentary access to the sauna and steam room. In addition, there is an ice rink, that is operated over the winter months, over the summer months (October-March) there is an inflatable waterslide the Trippo. Finally, there is also a snow park that provides an ice ramp used with inflatable tubes. This operates as a Summer Tube over the warmer months on artificial matting. edit
- Alpine Haven - Wide range of quality New Zealand products and souvenirs +64 3 680 6656
- High Country Crafts - Good value New Zealand gifts +64 3 680 6905
- Kiwi Treasures and Information Centre - Popular gifts and souvenirs, postcards +64 3 680 6686
- Lake Tekapo Post Centre - Fishing licences and tackle also +64 3 680 6861
- Four Square - Supermarket +64 3 680 6809
- Challenge Petrol Station - Snow chains, motor accessories +64 3 680 6933
- Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant +64 3 680 6828
- Kohan Japanese Restaurant +64 3 680 6688
- Observatory Cafe +64 3 680 6886
- Reflections Cafe & Restaurant +64 3 680 6234
- The Godley Resort Hotel +64 3 680 6848
- MacKenzies Restaurant & Bar
- Astro Cafe, Mt John Observatory (drive along Godley Peaks Rd (off the highway, just south of Tekapo Village) until you come to the gate), . Summer 09:00-18:00; Winter 10:00-17:00. Described in Lonely Planet as "possibly the best place on the planet for a coffee". Stunning views, lovely walks, and delicious coffee and food! If you're lucky, you may catch an astronomer floating about to give you a short tour of the observatory, or perhaps show you a star (or the sun!) in the daytime through special telescopes. Drive time from Tekapo is only 15 min, or you can walk up, starting by Alpine Springs Hot Pools (walks take between 45 min to 1.5 hr each way). This is definitely a spot not to be missed.
The road is closed outside of cafe operating hours to protect the Observatory, so check the opening times first! Being up so high (1,000 m above sea level) the road occasionally closes due to high winds or snow. The narrow road cannot carry vehicles larger than 22-seater buses and, as the observatory is private-lease land, any commercial / tourist ventures must get permission from Earth & Sky before coming up. edit
Motel and Hotel
- Lake Tekapo Scenic Resort  +64 3 680 6808
- Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park  +64 3 680 6825
- The Chalet Boutique Motel  +64 3 680 6774
- The Godley Resort Hotel  +64 3 680 6848
- Parkbrae Estate  +64 +64 3 680 6780
- Quality cottages and apartments to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. Full of character, and very close to the Lake, shops, and Church of the Good Shepherd.
Bed and Breakfast
- Creel House B&B  +64 3 680 6516
- Freda Du Faur House B&B  +64 3 680 6513
- Lake Tekapo Grandview  +64 3 680 6910
- Lake Tekapo Luxury Lodge  +64 3 680 6566
- Tekapo Moonlight B&B  +64 3 680 6514
Offers a beautiful view over the lake and the church while you enjoy your breakfast. The ground floor has three rooms and a lounge. The garden is relaxing.
- Tekapo House B&B  +64 3 680 6607
Offers over 30 self-contained holiday homes, many with breathtaking views of the lake and mountain range.
- Lakefront Lodge Backpackers +64 3 680 6740
- Independently owned and operated. Situated 300m from the lake front shops and bus stop.