Known for its remarkable colours, the remote, small town of Tekapo impresses with its crystal blue lake of the same name and the view of the Southern Alps in the background. Lake Tekapo gets its remarkable turquoise colour from the fine rock-flour which is suspended in the water. It is worth staying in Tekapo for 1 or 2 nights if you enjoy hiking.
Most people visit Tekapo for its scenic hiking trails. The most popular trail is the Mt John Summit Circuit Track. The 1.30 hour track passes through forests and open tussock hill slopes until you arrive at Mt John summit where you can enjoy spectacular views over the turquoise lake. On the summit is also a small restaurant where you can have refreshments.
Instead of hiking the same way back, I recommend taking the 2 hour Mt John via Lakeshore track, back into Tekapo town. On the track you will have more picturesque views of the lake and won’t encounter many tourists, which makes it a scenic and memorizing experience.
Stargazing at UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve
Lake Tekapo is one of the best locations in New Zealand to see the Southern Lights (equivalent to the Northern Lights). The stars are best seen between April and September. Due to the lack of pollution and electric lights, the nights are crystal clear for stunning views. Find more information about the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve here.
Church of the Good Shepherd
You can’t miss the small Church of the Good Shepherd when you are in Tekapo as it is located at the edge of the lake with picturesque views. The church was built in 1935 from the pioneer families of the region. Today it is one of the most popular picture taking spots for tourists.