Lake Tekapo Things to Do

  • Church of the Good Shepherd.
    Church of the Good Shepherd.
    by CDM7
  • View from inside the church.
    View from inside the church.
    by CDM7
  • Things to Do
    by CDM7

Most Recent Things to Do in Lake Tekapo

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    Church of Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo

    by CDM7 Updated Mar 19, 2013

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    Situated on the edge of Lake Tekapo the church was built in 1935 and the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin.
    Because the Church of the Good Shepherd has caught the attention of the world,many people visit here from all parts of the globe.The church is still used for weddings and baptisms.The views from the church window has to be one of the best anywhere.

    Church of the Good Shepherd. View from inside the church.
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    Lake Pukaki

    by al2401 Written Jul 18, 2012

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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.

    Lake Pukaki Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook Head of Lake Pukaki Lake Pukaki Lake Pukaki
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    Aoraki Visitor Centre

    by al2401 Written Jul 18, 2012

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    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.

    Mt Cook from the Visitor Centre Stained Glass - Visitor Centre, Mt Cook Maori Carving - Visitor Centre, Mt Cook
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    Mt Cook

    by al2401 Updated Jul 18, 2012

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    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.

    Mt Cook on the way from Lake Tekapo Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki Mt Cook Mt Cook Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki
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    Lake Tekapo

    by al2401 Updated Jul 16, 2012

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    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.

    Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo at dusk Lake Tekapo at dusk Lake Tekapo
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    Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo

    by al2401 Updated Jul 16, 2012

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    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.

    Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo Altar - Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo
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    McKenzie County Collie Dog Memorial

    by al2401 Updated Jul 15, 2012

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    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.

    Collie Dog Memorial Collie Dog Memorial Collie Dog Memorial
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  • AusPinay's Profile Photo

    At Enchanting Lake Tekapo

    by AusPinay Updated May 17, 2011

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    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!

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  • Church of the Good Shepherd

    by stargate2 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    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.

    Stunning view of the Church
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    Flight over Southern Alps of New Zealand

    by toff Updated Dec 3, 2009

    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.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Go into the Air

    by Kakapo2 Updated Sep 1, 2008

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    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:

    Air Safaris

    Phone (03) 6806 880

    http://www.airsafaris.co.nz/

    http://www.tekapotourism.co.nz/activities/airsafaris.htm

    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.



    Tekapo Helicopters

    Freephone within NZ (0800) 359 835

    http://www.tekapohelicopters.co.nz/

    http://www.tekapotourism.co.nz/activities/tekapo_helicopters.htm

    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.

    Air Safaris offer top views over lakes and Alps.
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    Get on your Feet

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 31, 2008

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    We love hiking (the New Zealanders call it tramping) and cycling at Lake Tekapo, apart from just walking half an hour and then lie in the sun. On a website I have seen an interesting guided 6-7 day tramp called "Lake Stroll" through four big sheep stations. Could be great but we have not made it (yet).

    We enjoy the walk up to Mt. John Oberservatory (Astro Café!) and then along the ridge of the mountain, along the western lake side. The track leads down to the lake, so you can walk back along the shore.

    The walk starts at the ice-rink/hot pools complex. If you face the complex, to the left of it. Alpine Springs/Ice-Rink is signposted on SH 8. If you come from Christchurch/Fairlie you have to turn right at the end of the township. After the turn the roads turns further left, and you cannot miss it.

    A winter walk along the lake.
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    The Sheepdog Monument, Friday and James McKenzie

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 31, 2008

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    Just some metres from the Church of the Good Shepherd is a monument to honour a good shepherd's best friend: the Sheepdog Monument. The sign at the bronze statue says that the grazing of the mountainous Mackenzie Country would be impossible without the help of the sheep dogs.

    The most popular sheepdog in New Zealand is the border collie, a very friendly breed even I like, and I am really not known as a dog lover ;-) The statue which was put up in 1968 is in honour to all border collies and especially to one named Friday.

    Friday belonged to New Zealand's most (in-)famous outlaw, James McKenzie, after whom the Mackenzie Country - Canterbury's high-country around Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki - is named. Only the spelling has changed slightly.

    James McKenzie had immigrated from Scotland via Australia in the mid 1840s. He was a sheep rustler who, along with his sheep dog Friday, was accused of stealing sheep. He was finally captured in 1855, and after a series of escapes and increasing illness, he was pardoned and released in 1856 and promptly disappeared forever. He had served time at the Lyttelton Gaol, and it is not known if he stayed in New Zealand or left the country. Views differ. Some say he was sent on a ship to South America, others say to Australia, and others say he just disappeared.

    Legend (one of the many...) says that Friday was trained not to bark. McKenzie who was also called Jock and Mac is said to have stolen whole mobs of sheep (and we speak of about 1000) from the coastal farmers, drove them undetected through the secret mountain pass to the high country plains, then south to Dunedin, where he sold them for a good profit.

    Although he was infamous for the wrong reasons James McKenzie seems to have been one of the great pioneers of the high-country. Some legends even say that he was set up for the sheep stealing.

    Sheep Dog Monument, bear not included ;-)
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    What a View from the Church of the Good Shepherd!

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 31, 2008

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    The pastor of Lake Tekapo can tell you funny stories. When tourists show up during a wedding ceremony some of them are full of admiration that they hold show weddings for tourists at the idyllic Church of the Good Shepherd! LOL

    The weddings are real, and the church is used for normal church services. But obviously its spectacular location makes people think it is too fantastic to be real. But it is.

    This little granite stone church is located right on the shore of the lake, in a slightly elevated position, surrounded by tussock grass, and in summer Russell lupins make the picture perfect. From inside the church you have a direct view of the turquoise blue lake and the surrounding mountains. The altar window frames a perfect view of the mountains at the end of the lake - on a beautiful day.

    It was built in 1935 in memory of the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country (read more about the Mackenzie Country in the next tip about the sheep dog monument).

    The church is open from 9am till 5pm in summer (Oct-May) and 11am to 4pm in winter (June-Sep), donations welcome.

    Little church, great view, fantastic location.
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    Of Course, you are there for the Lupins ;-)

    by Kakapo2 Written Sep 17, 2007

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    Although classified as weeds, they are wonderful. And of course, you are allowed to enjoy the splash of colour along the roads to and around Lake Tekapo.

    Depending on the weather, the Russel lupins are in bloom from November/December to January/February.

    The colour sensation along SH 8 starts shortly after Burke’s Pass – so take care when cars in front of you suddenly brake to park along the highway and take photos. The views get more spectacular by the minute, as soon the summits of the Southern Alps peak over the horizon and form a spectacular, often snow-capped, background.

    Also along the lake and the Church of the Good Shepherd you will find plenty of lupins, and also the spectacular orange-coloured Mexican poppies.

    Another great stretch of lupin-seamed road is along the Lake Alexandrina road west of Lake Tekapo, and also the meandering road up to the Observatory and the summit area of Mt. John (the place of the Observatory) offers a lot of flower power.

    If you carry on on SH 8 towards Lake Pukaki/Mt. Cook there is another sea of lupins. If they were not as colourful and you would not see them, you would smell them!

    Splash of lupins on the slopes to the Observatory. Along the road back to Burke's Pass.
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