Lake Tekapo New Zealand
Tekapo aka Lake Tekapo was once a little village that is fast growing into a town. The highlight of the town is the spectacular backdrop of the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the nearby snow-capped mountains.
Where is Lake Tekapo?
The town of Lake Tekapo (which is often just called Tekapo) is situated at the southern end of the lake of the same name. Both are located in the Mackenzie District of the South Island of New Zealand. The main street of the town is on highway 8, a popular tourist route between Queenstown
and Christchurch, with Tekapo being the approximate half way point. Tekapo is 227km southwest of Christchurch and 257km northeast of Queenstown.
As the crow flies, Tekapo is close to the Mt Cook area, although by road the Mount Cook village
is 105km away.
Tekapo Ski Fields
Lake Tekapo is a popular place to stay in any season, but during winter it’s a common holiday destination for skiers and snowboarders. Lake Tekapo is well located to access four NZ ski fields as a day trip; one club field and three small commercial ski resorts. The four ski fields are very inexpensive and uncrowded.
is the closest ski field, only 32km from Tekapo (a half hour drive away), so it's often called the Tekapo Ski Field. Roundhill is a great place for families, beginners and intermediates, and the new mega ropetow has also made the ski field very attractive to advanced and expert riders.
Tekapo is also a good base for skiing at Mt Dobson
, 44km to the east. The town of Fairlie is closer to Mt Dobson, but many prefer to stay at Lake Tekapo because it’s more “happening”.
ski field is also nearby. From Tekapo it is 94km to the Lake Ohau Lodge and then a further 9.6km (15-20 minute drive) to the Ohau snow field.
is a primitive club field that is 78km (75 minute drive) from Lake Tekapo. Fox Peak is completely deserted and the steep slopes are ideal for advanced riders..
Lake Tekapo is also well situated to go heli skiing at Mt Cook
with Mt Cook Heliski
(previously Wilderness Heliski and guided by Alpine Guides) or Harris Mountains
. Heli skiing in the Mt Cook region is renowned for providing higher and longer runs than heli skiing in the Queenstown and Wanaka areas.
Alpine Guides also offer the famous “Ski the Tasman
” tour which is plane accessed skiing on the majestic Tasman Glacier. Skiing is really only a small part of the experience, with the grandeur of the Tasman Glacier being the main event.
A couple of companies also offer guided ski touring trips in the Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook area.
Lake Tekapo Accommodation
It seems apt to stay in Tekapo considering that the name “Tekapo” originated from the Maori words “Taka” and “Po” meaning “sleeping mat” and “night” respectively. Thankfully the quality of Lake Tekapo accommodation
is many steps up from just a sleeping mat and includes a few hotels, motels, apartments, backpackers, bed and breakfasts, and rental houses. Much of the Tekapo accommodation is very reasonably priced.
Lake Tekapo Activities
Taking a look at the Church of the Good Shepherd and the famous sheep dog statue on the shores of Lake Tekapo may only take 5 minutes, but it seems to be a mandatory experience whilst in the area.
Other Lake Tekapo activities
include boat trips on the lake, scenic flights across the Mt Cook and Tasman Glacier areas, and a soak in the Tekapo hot springs. Tekapo also has some astro-tourism considering that the clear night skies make Tekapo are an epicentre of astronomy activity.
Why Visit Lake Tekapo?
With only a population of less than 500 locals, Lake Tekapo is a small picturesque town that offers a very laid-back and family friendly holiday. The cost of a holiday is much cheaper than most other New Zealand ski towns, and it’s a great chance to get away from the crowds to relax.