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Lake Pukaki is one of three parallel lakes running north south from the Southern Alps. It is the largest of the three (the others are Lake Tekapo and Lake Ohau). All are glacier lakes and the glacial flour gives them that distinctive blue colour.
Lake Pukaki is fed by the Tasman River from the waters of the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers. It is part of the Waitaki Hydro Scheme.
Written Jul 18, 2012
The visitor centre at Mt Cook/Aoraki is quite amazing. It is full of imformation about the area including Maori history, wildlife, climbing history and the mountains. There are examples of Maori art and some beautiful stained glass windows featuring flora and fauna of the area.
Written Jul 18, 2012
Address: 1 Larch Grove, Aoraki/Mt Cook
Phone: +64 3 435 1186
Mount Cook or in the Maori, Aoraki is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is 3,754 metres high and is in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.
It is a popular tourist destination all year round and on the list of challenges to mountain climbers. The Tasman Gacier (to the east) and the Hooker Glacier (to the west) flow from the peak.
It is part of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park (established in 1953) which, along with Westland National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park forms one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The drive to Mt Cook from either Twizel or Lake Tekapo is fantastic for scenery. Both roads join at Lake Pukaki then follow the lake until its head.
Updated Jul 18, 2012
Lake Tekapo is one of three lakes running almost parallel to each other. Lakes Pukaki and Ohau are the other two. Lake Tekapo is the second largest. It is fed by the waters of the Godley River and drained by the Tekapo River. It forms part of the extensive Waitaki Hydro Scheme.
The township of Lake Tekapo is at the southern end of the lake and has a number of tourist resorts.
Updated Jul 16, 2012
Situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd, which, in 1935, was the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin. It was built as a place of worship for many denominations and remains so today. As a memorial to the founders of the area it is made from local stone - in fact the stones could only be gathered from within 5 miles away and were not to be worked in any way.
The church is one of the most photgraphed in New Zealand, albeit the world and has an altar which stands in front of a large picture window showcasing a spectacular view of the lake and mountains.
Regular worship services are held and they are popular with visitors.
Updated Jul 16, 2012
Border Collie dogs were introduced to the area in the 1800's byt the Scottish shepherds. Without these dogs the area could not have been farmed with any success. A memorial to the saviour of the McKenzie County has been erected at Lake Tekapo.
Updated Jul 15, 2012
Driving from Christchurch to Queenstown was the best thing we've done for our New Zealand trip!This was mainly due to the easy drive - not much traffic and of course since we're Sydneysiders we were comfy with the driving style there (unlike in LA where we were terrified to drive a car!).
Along the way to Queenstown where we hope to see more snow and more majestic mountains, there were verdant valleys, wide open spaces filled with healthy looking cattle, sheep and other farm animals. The modern life happily jived well with the rural activities we saw around us!
What was more memorable was the fact that at the time we were there, the "Lord of the Rings" phenomenon was sweeping the world and there were notices of places used as settings for some of the movie's segments.
So we looked at the majestic mountains in a different light thinking of Froddo, Gandolph, etc..as we drive along with a sense of thrill knowing we were sightseeing through MIDDLE EARTH, so to speak!
But the most amazing part of the trip was the sight of LAKE TEKAPO, nestled so peacefully amidst the clear blue sky seemingly giving me the feeling of time standing still!
It was like being in a strange but wonderful world- and that whole fabulous place was all to ourselves if not fow a few ducks wondering at the edge of the lake! Even these waterfowls were truly at peace with the humans they come in contact with!
I felt very much safe and at peace in that magical lake! The kids too revel in the tranquility around them, though they couldn't help skip stones on the water's edge. Their dad was so inspired to teach them the art of skipping stones,LOL! If you're going to the South Island of New Zealand, set aside time to visit LAKE TEKAPO!
OTHER THINGS TO DO:
Aside from soaking up the peace and quiet and beauty that the lake has to offer, do have a MEAL (we had a fab brekky of pancakes and bacon at the restaurant overlooking the lake with fresh oj and lovely coffee!) there, it is magical, believe me!
Updated May 17, 2011
Address: LAKE TEKAPO, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935, one of the most photographed in New Zealand, and features an altar window that frames stunning views of the lake and mountains.
Photography is not allow inside the church. There is a person guarding the church and may insist tourist to donate.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Air Safaris provide a fantastic flight titled " The Grand Traverse of Aoraki Mount Cook and the glaciers". I took a flight in 2001 and 2009. The flight in 2001 was in a small 5 seater plane, and that in 2009 was in a larger plane with about 12 seats. Weather is crucial for a scenic flight. In 2001 the weather was perfect for flying- blue sky, sunny, little cloud. Well worth the expense ( see photos at http://thetoff.jalbum.net/ ). However, in November 2009 cloud over the Fox Glacier and Aoraki Mount Cook was a big disappointment as most of this area was in cloud. Did not get my money's worth that time, and only a few photos were taken.
To ensure that you get your money's worth, I suggest that if you think the day looks ok or you have some concern about scattered cloud in the region then motor to the beautiful blue Lake Pukaki, and cast your eyes in the direction of the mountain range and Aoraki Mount Cook. If you can clearly see mountain peaks and Aoraki Mount Cook then contact the airport and book a flight. For photographers I recommend the small plane or if a bigger plane then sit towards the rear of the plane.
Updated Dec 3, 2009
Address: Air Safaris - Lake Tekapo Airport
If you want to take a a flight over the moon-like landscape of the Mackenzie Country and the highest peaks of New Zealand dotted along the lakes – contact one of the following companies:
Phone (03) 6806 880
A tour from and back to Lake Tekapo costs NZ$ 280 (from Mt. Cook 320). They also offer options to transfer you to their other two locations at Glentanner Park (that is several kilometres before Mt. Cook Village) and Franz Josef.
They are also based in Glentanner (Mt. Cook Village) and Franz Josef, so you can also start a scenic flight over Mt. Cook National Park, Lake Tekapo and the glaciers from there.
Freephone within NZ (0800) 359 835
The shortest and cheapest flight costs $190. If you want a snow or glacier landing you must calculate with $270 - but prices range up to $500.
Updated Sep 1, 2008