about Lake Tekapo

In the centre of the South Island of New Zealand lies Lake Tekapo. This highland lake and settlement at 710 metres (2300 feet) is in the heart of the Mackenzie District and surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock grass. The name Tekapo derives from Maori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night). Finely ground rock in the glacial melted waters give Lake Tekapo a beautifully unique turquoise color.


Lake Tekapo’s geographical and central location is protected from rough coastal weather by the Southern Alps in the west, and the Two Thumb Range to the east. This allows this highland location to enjoy some of New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, and lowest average wind speeds. Rainfall is just 575 millimeters (23 inches) annually.

Summer or winter, snow-covered or golden-yellow, the surrounding mountains and turquoise lake make a spectacular backdrop for the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Maori were the first to venture into the Mackenzie Country, where they hunted moas, birds and eels before returning to the coast for food and trade.

The capture of Scotsman, James McKenzie in 1855, for being “in the company of a thousand stolen sheep” as he rustled them with his dog Friday, through a remote alpine pass into “a plain of immense extent” resulted in his deeds being immortalized and his name, albeit with a spelling change, applied to these highlands ever since.


The unforgettable night sky reveals why Lake Tekapo has a reputation for clear, clean air.

Lake Tekapo is situated midway between the International Airport in Christchurch, and New Zealand’s largest winter and summer playground, the Southern Lakes District, which includes the towns of Wanaka and Queenstown.


Direct access to Tekapo can be had from State Highway 8 which connects Christchurch to Queenstown. Bus services link Lake Tekapo to all the main centres of Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin, Wanaka and Queenstown.


Where to Stay

Lake Tekapo boasts a wide range of accommodation from the traditional Kiwi bach to the boutique chalet to the world class resort ...

What to Do

Lake Tekapo offers a wide range of world-class recreational pursuits and a unique mix of activities throughout the year. It’s all here ...

Where to Eat

Local New Zealand, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, European cuisine ... excellent dining opportunities with cuisine to suit all tastes.

Where to Shop

Lake Tekapo has a variety of shops to cater for your basic necessities as well as those special souvenirs unique to the area to take home ...

What's Available

Lake Tekapo has a number of essential services including local businesses, wedding & church services and transport services ...

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