Outbound Collective logo

Explore Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand


Added by Tiffany Young

Stars, mountains, and a turquoise blue lake. Come to relax.

Are you looking for a good stop on the way to Mt. Cook or do you happen to be an astrogeek with a love for space and mountains and overall beautiful nature? The town of Lake Tekapo has everything you need to restock before Mt. Cook with views of the stunning and parallel Lake Tekapo. It is also a great overnight destination for those seeking some epic stargazing.


Getting there is easy and impossible to miss. From Christchurch, go south on SH1, turn right onto SH79 at Ranitata, and follow until you reach Fairlie where you will turn right onto SH8. Drive for another 42km until you reach Lake Tekapo. (Alternatively, if you can head west out of Christchurch and take the scenic route on SH 77.) There are a few carparks around the town and street or town parking is unlimited.

About the town and lake

Glaciers! Glaciers, glaciers, glaciers. The source of the turquoise blue lake is from the Godley, Cass and Macaulay rivers that flow from the valleys of the Southern Alps. Thank you oh majestic glaciers! The lake is 120m (390 ft) deep and 27km (16.8m) long.

The population of this tourist town is about 369 with numbers sometimes almost doubling from travelers staying a night here.

Surrounded by mountains and golden tussocks in the Mackenzie Country, there is also nearby ski areas (Roundhill Ski Field and Mt Dobson Ski Area) to the east of the lake. From town, you can hike up the easy Mt. John Walkway for an epic view of the lake or just to check out the observatory. For a parking fee, you can also drive up there.

Take in all the life that surrounds this alpine lake town. It's totally worth it!

P.S. If you enjoy New Zealand pies and didn't stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse for one of their famous pies, you can also get them at the The Greedy Cow ;)

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Adult Beverages
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area

Explore Lake Tekapo Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Visit Mt. John Observatory

Hike the Mount John Walkway

Explore Lake Pukaki

Rock Climb at Unwin Crag

Climb Mt. Wakefield

Hike to Muller Hut