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Canterbury, New ZealandLake Tekapo Regional Information

Lake Tekapo | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Tekapo is a small township resting on the shores of Lake Tekapo, a large beautiful glacial located in central South Island.

Lake Tekapo Overview

Canterbury, New Zealand
Canterbury, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo is a large beautiful glacial central South Island lake surrounded by mountain ranges with the Southern Alps rising majestically to the north together with scores of other mountain ranges to the east and west.

Lake Tekapo has a quaint little town, made up mostly of holiday homes and accommodation, but is still large enough to offer a range of shops including, souvenir shops, a petrol station, a bakery and a small supermarket. Tekapo has become an important tourist town centrally located and only 3 hours drive from Christchurch airport.

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Lake Tekapo Highlights

Activities include; jet boating, star gazing in an observatory, horse riding, golfing, fishing, hot pools, alpine activities and skiing.

Tekapo is home to one of the most famous heritage buildings in New Zealand, the Church of the Good Shepherd. It is arguably one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand, built on the lake shore it offers a stunning view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Tekapo is also the scene of a major hydro power scheme that now includes a 26-kilometre canal to carry water. The scheme contributes to New Zealand's largely renewable energy based power supply and has not degraded the environment.

Geography and History of Lake Tekapo

The lake covers some 83 square kilometres and with an elevation of 700 metres above sea level it's the highest lake in the Mackenzie Basin. The Southern Alps are permanently capped in glacial ice flowing down from the mountains, melting and then following into the lake through the Godley River. Lake Tekapo has an intense, milky, turquoise hue. This is due to a fine rock flour, ground by glacial movement and suspended in the waters. Fed by several glaciers, the inviting waters of Lake Tekapo are generally too cold for swimming, except in the shallows or on the hottest days.

The whole valley in which the lake now lies was once covered in a large glacier stretching from the peaks of the mountains to pass the end of the lake. As the climate warmed after the last ice age, the glacier retreated back damming up the valley with terminal moraine allowing a lake to form. Today tourists can admire the carved valley, the beautiful turquoise hue lake, and the remnants of the glaciers.

Lake Tekapo Accommodation

Lake Tekapo is a popular tourist destination and offers a wide range of accommodation options:

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Useful Lake Tekapo Links

To help plan your Lake Tekapo holiday choose from the main categories below:

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Lake Tekapo Region Information

Lake Tekapo Tourism Operators

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Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.