Top 11 Things To See & Do In Lake Tekapo On A Budget
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17th Jul | 4 min read

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    With picture-postcard views and mild sunny summers and cool winters, Lake Tekapo is located in the heart of the South Island. Whether you like adventure or stargazing, or just want to lose yourself in an oasis of serenity among nature, Lake Tekapo caters to all your demands. 

    If you are looking for things to do in Lake Tekapo, we’ve made planning for your trip a lot easier with this guide. Below you will find eleven of the best places to visit and things to do in Lake Tekapo, and how much they cost.

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    Stargaze in the Dark Sky Reserve

    Cost: Stargazing tours start from $45 

    Lake Tekapo is known to be one of the best places in the world for stargazing. If you prefer to spend a night here, then you can do Stargazing. Lake Tekapo has been declared to be the largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world and is part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. You can also soak in a hot tub as you lose yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of the stars. 

    Church of the Good Shepherd


    One of the main attractions around Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd. This small and quiet church was built to honor the pioneers of The Mackenzie country. The view of the Southern Alps and the lake from here is beautiful.

    Sheepdog Memorial


    The Sheepdog Memorial is located on Mackenzie Street, which is a statue of a border collie. This memorial was built as a tribute to these sheepdogs who were initially brought to the land by the Scottish settlers and played a huge role in the success of farming in this region. You can snap some great shots here and it is located right around the corner from the Church. 

    Fields of Lupins


    Lake Tekapo is also an excellent place to visit if you want to photograph lupins. The area is covered with colorful pink and purple flowers and will definitely look good on your gram! 

    Lake Tekapo Regional Park


    Lake Tekapo Regional Park is a 165-hectare park with walking trails, cycling tracks, picnic areas, swimming spots, a dog park, and beautiful scenery to enjoy. You can also enjoy activities such as cross country skiing, mountain biking, orienteering, disc golfing, swimming, boating, and kayaking. 

    Cowans Hill Walkway


    The Cowans Hill Walkway offers incredible views of Tekapo. The walk is a relatively easy one and you can hike or bike through lush green forests and catch glimpses of exotic birds on the way to the top of the hill. 

    Mt John & Mt John University Observatory

    Cost:  Mt. John University Observatory Tours start from $45 per adult

    Make your way up to Mt. John which is on the Mt. John Summit Circuit, where you will get to experience beautiful green scenery. The lush open fields are just the prelude to the wild experience because, after this one and a half-hour walk, you’ll get to soak in the marvelous views of Lake Tekapo and the wondrous Southern Alps, often regarded as one of the best places in New Zealand to see this color harmony come to life, making it an ideal travel destination. 

    After you walk along the Mt. John Summit Track, you can go for a quick tour to the Mt. John University Observatory, which is also the country’s premier astronomical research observatory. The scenes of the lake are the finest, between April and September, for its clear night skies and lack of light pollution. You can get information on the evening tour on how to use their equipment, such as the telescopes.

    Lake Alexandrina


    For a serene tranquil atmosphere, head to Lake Alexandria, where you can do high country fishing and bring yourself some joy with trout and salmon. The deep blue water of the lake is free from motorboats and jet skis and you can enjoy the peace and quiet as you connect with nature without any distractions and take in the sound of the chirping birds and the flowing water.

    Tekapo Springs

    Cost: Same day return passes for hot pools and aqua play is $27 per adult.

    For more prices and packages, click here. 

    The Tekapo Springs is located in Lake Tekapo and features three hot pools, an Aqua Play Area with two cooler pools, steam and sauna rooms with cold plunge pools, and breathtaking views of the gorgeous lake amidst the surrounding mountains and forests. It is the ultimate place to be for relaxation and recreation. You can also do snow tubing and ice skating in the winter or just unwind in the pools in the summer. There is also a nice cafe which provides both indoor and outdoor dining, and not to forget the incredible views! 

    Go Skiing (Roundhill Ski Area and Mt Dobson Ski Fields)

    The price range for Roundhill Ski Area: $45.00 - $382.00

    Mountain transport for Mt Dobson Ski Fields costs $35 return for adults.

    The two most popular ski fields in Lake Tekapo are the Roundhill Ski Area and Mt Dobson Ski Fields. While Roundhill Ski Area provides spectacular views of Aoraki Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, and the Southern Alps, Mt Dobson has a cozy and warm cafe, equipment and clothing rental, and a Snow School with a team of international instructors who can educate you about skiing and boarding.

    Jet Boat Ride

    Cost: From $95.00 NZD

    To experience some of the best highlights of Lake Tekapo, you can go for a scenic jet boat ride, which will take you around Moutariki Island and the Good Shepherd Church, while the jet boat’s guide takes you back in time with the tales of the history of these icons, as well as some Māori legends.

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