Favourites: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Ever been to a place that, even upon return, never fails to occupy your mind? A place that was so beautiful, that its colours, smells and sounds have been indelibly imprinted in your memory? I think everyone has his or her favourite spot in the world — in my case, it is Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. Let me warn you that this post contains a huge range of blue hues!

Lake Tekapo is a picture-perfect lake on the South Island and situated approximately half-way between Christchurch and Queenstown. Whereas most people only visit the lake and the nearby village of Tekapo for a brief stopover on the six-hour journey between these cities, I spent some three weeks in this awe-inspiring area. Because New Zealand is not a country for city-dwellers but best enjoyed in the outdoors, exploring the stunning nature of Tekapo just seemed the right thing to do. I am glad I did. When I moved to New Zealand as an 18-year-old pup, I certainly did not expect to find a place as beautiful as Lake Tekapo, yet I still dream about it every day.

So what can you actually do in and around Tekapo?

- Go on a hike. During my first visit I walked up the Mt John Walkway, a scenic three-hour loop track up Mount John providing stunning views of the lake. Combined with the golden tussock grass and mountainous backdrop, this hike is well worth the steep climb.

My dear friend Anne on top of Mount John ©Maaike
- Gaze at the stars. The skies above Tekapo are crystal clear and free of light pollution, which allows for some incredible star gazing. If you want to get a closer look at the galaxies, star clusters, planets and constellations, you could visit the Mount John Observatory and join one of their famous stargazing tours.

- Go fishing. I had never really been a big fan of fishing, but the tables turned when I tasted my first-ever caught trout... My oh my, did that taste good! If you want to try your luck, head over to Tekapo Canal, where monster trout and salmon lurk beneath the sky-dappled surface of the water.

Tekapo Canal ©Maaike
Fishing at Lake Tekapo ©Maaike

- Take a bath. It can get pretty damn cold in Tekapo in winter, so a soak in a warm spa pool seems the best remedy to avoid the bone-chilling weather. The Tekapo Springs offer three hot pools that overlook the lake, as well as sauna and steam rooms to warm you up.

- Go camping. Set up a tent in the wild or on some designated camping grounds. If the view below isn't enough of a reason to go camping, I don't know what else is...

Camping at YHA Lake Tekapo ©Maaike
Purple lupins ©Maaike


  1. I've never been to New Zealand yet, but it is high, really high on my list of things to do! This looks awesome!

    1. Oh, you definitely should! It is hands down the most beautiful country I have ever been to. From subtropical beaches to Alpine glaciers... New Zealand has it all!


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