These days, I discover myself muttering issues like, I bear in mind when this place was solely this huge. Is that this an indication I’m getting outdated? I’ve been fortunate sufficient to name New Zealand dwelling for practically a decade, which suggests I’ve watched loads of locations change, develop, and evolve with the instances, particularly in the case of tourism.
Lake Tekapo is a type of spots.
Eternally widespread, Tekapo was positively heaving with vacationers till the borders closed. Like so a lot of our South Island cities, when the vacationers left, they turned quiet. However vacationers don’t make a city, and Covid didn’t destroy the center of this iconic lake city. Tekapo, like all of our favourite locations, endured.
Since one in all my dearest buddies Hollie of Mountain House Creative, moved there a couple of years in the past, I discovered myself once more stopping and spending time in Tekapo as I as soon as did once I first moved to the South Island. To go to Tekapo is to see one in all my favourite elements of the South Island.
The previous few years have given Tekapo an opportunity to breathe and settle. Nestled within the coronary heart of the central South Island, within the Mackenzie Country, Tekapo has earned its place among the many most iconic New Zealand views.
Earlier than the pandemic, Tekapo was a type of buzzy small South Island cities that drew individuals in like a magnet. However the previous few years meant it was quiet, like actually quiet. This implies it’s by no means been a greater time to go to! From unimaginable surroundings, a number of journey, darkish evening skies, and the kindest locals you’ll ever meet, I used to be so comfortable to spend a number of days right here soaking all of it in. And when Tekapo places on her winter coat, nicely, there may be nowhere extra lovely!
Listed below are a few of my favourite photographs from a winter getaway to Tekapo – get pleasure from.
1. Take within the gorgeous views alongside the lakefront
My final journey to Tekapo was again in July, the center of our winter. Due to its dry, arid, inland local weather, Tekapo sees a number of the coldest winter days and hottest summer season days. Crisp winter mornings in Lake Tekapo are simply so lovely.
Name me loopy, however I believe Tekapo is essentially the most lovely in winter, particularly when there may be plenty of snow.
The brilliant turquoise lake is about in opposition to golden grasses that lead as much as the snowcapped Southern Alps. Our highest mountain, Aoraki / Mt. Prepare dinner, is seen within the distance. Perched completely on the shores of the lake is the enigmatic stone church. It’s essentially the most well-known church in New Zealand, that’s for positive. Not that now we have so much in comparison with the place I grew up within the Bible Belt of America.
Lake Tekapo will get its iconic vivid turquoise blue shade from the tremendous nice glacial powder suspended within the water. The mountain glaciers grind rocks into nice mud on their journey towards the lake. The lake typically displays inexperienced within the clouds above on a cloudy day.
At all times take a while to stroll alongside the lakefront and take in the gorgeous mountain views.
2. Curl up and be cozy at Aldourie Lodge
The view from the entrance door of Adourie Lodge in Lake Tekapo is nearly nearly as good because it will get!
A stone’s throw away from the well-known Church of the Good Shepherd, with a number of the greatest views round, Aldourie Lodge delights and surprises all. On the lakefront within the oldest a part of Tekapo in one of many oldest homes in Tekapo, Aldourie Lodge invitations you in, making you not need to go away. Nestled on the shores of Lake Tekapo, in an period of unprecedented improvement throughout New Zealand, there’s one thing so beautiful about having the ability to keep in historic areas.
Right here you possibly can keep in Aldourie Lodge itself, a fantastically renovated cottage that sleeps six, subsequent door within the Awa Cottage, which sleeps 4, or within the Sealy Street Studio, sleeping two. Once you go to Tekapo, attempt to keep right here.
3. Seize the perfect espresso and sit back on the Jack Rabbit Cafe
I’ll allow you to in on a secret, the perfect espresso and views on the town are from Jack Rabbit Cafe, proper throughout from the footbridge. As a author, I all the time search for cafe areas that really feel cozy and alluring. The vibe and luxury ranges are simply as necessary to me because the espresso and meals.
With heaps of area, Jack Rabbit is the sort of place the place you possibly can hang around for hours with buddies, cover away with e book on a wet day, or deliver your pc and do some writing.
You may’t go incorrect right here with epic outside seating overlooking the lake and fairtrade natural espresso.
4. Go for a scenic flight round New Zealand’s highest mountain
Lately one of many must-dos if you go to Tekapo, is to take a scenic flight across the iconic mountains. Should you suppose the views from the bottom wow you, simply wait til you hit the skies. Air Safaris is a Tekapo establishment, flying across the mountains right here for the reason that 70s. Household-owned and operated, they fly in fixed-wing small plane and helicopters. Each are wonderful.
The journey you need to do is the epic Grand Traverse, which flies over the gorgeous excessive nation stations and braided rivers. You’ll move by Aoraki/Mt. Prepare dinner, alongside the alps and the glaciers, together with the Tasman Glacier. Finally, you’ll cross the divide to the West Coast by Franz and Fox Glaciers earlier than heading again to Tekapo. The helicopter model is an hour-long flight, the Mt. Prepare dinner Franz and Fox Magic tour is simply as wonderful and features a snow touchdown.
My favourite half is hovering over the long-lasting pink mountaineering huts in Mt. Prepare dinner Nationwide Park. Sitting at 2200m, Plateau Hut appears immediately throughout the huge Grand Plateau icefield to the east face of Aoraki/Mt Prepare dinner. Perched on the world’s edge, the Grand Plateau icefields drain into the Hochstetter Icefall, descending all the way down to the Tasman Glacier. This hut might be abuzz with climbers on their option to deal with New Zealand’s highest mountain within the summertime.
5. Decide up a e book or two at Petronella’s and the native gallery upstairs
My new favourite bookstore in all of New Zealand is true within the middle of Lake Tekapo – Petronella’s Gallery Bookstore. I can’t even start to explain how a lot I really like a considerate, well-curated bookstore. They make me so comfortable.
I simply spend an hour or so strolling up and down the aisles choosing issues up and placing them down till I’ve an ideal choice – 5 is all the time my restrict, which is excessive in New Zealand, contemplating how a lot books price right here. However humorous sufficient, regardless of my monetary state (and the way broke I’m), I all the time be sure I can purchase a e book.
To me, books are as important as meals and hire – are you able to relate?
I drive via Tekapo typically as of late on my journeys to and from Wanaka to Lyttelton as I test in on my store NODE. I all the time be sure to name in to go to Petronella’s for some inspiration. Upstairs you’ll discover a gorgeous gallery that includes improbable artwork and iconic Tekapo items. Lovingly cared for and tended to by native Wilma, locations like these are the center and soul of our South Island cities. I hope, as a worldwide tradition, we by no means cease studying.
6. Take a look at the unimaginable evening skies with a non-public stargazing tour
Tekapo is legendary for a lot of causes, however maybe essentially the most well-known is that it sits throughout the largest darkish sky reserve within the Southern Hemisphere. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is comprised of Aoraki/Mt. Prepare dinner Nationwide Park and the Mackenzie Basin. There are strict guidelines round mild air pollution, which blocks out the sky. This implies Tekapo is among the greatest locations in New Zealand to look at the celebrities.
The stone church with the Milky Method twinkling above is among the most iconic photographs of Tekapo and one I lastly shot for the primary time on this journey. Once you go to Tekapo, you’ll see how widespread that is.
Joseph Pooley is an area professional photographer who gives non-public stargazing excursions and astrophotography workshops proper right here in Tekapo. With Alpha Crux Stargazing, he involves you with non-public, bespoke stargazing excursions throughout Tekapo. With a high-powered telescope and laser, you possibly can be taught and examine the celebrities with an professional proper the place you’re staying; how wonderful is that?
As a result of I’m additionally a photographer, I used to be curious to be taught extra about deep area images, one thing Joseph is an professional in (take a look at his Instagram to have your thoughts blown). I discovered a lot, most of which was that it’s actually advanced and time-consuming, however the reward is value it if you get these iconic, nebular-like photographs of distant galaxies. Right here’s my first try at deep area images, the Eta Carina Nebula, which just about Joseph shot and edited, and I watched.
7. Soak your bones on the Tekapo Scorching Springs
I don’t learn about you guys, however I’ve by no means met a scorching pool I didn’t love. Tekapo Springs is a must-visit on any South Island journey to go to Tekapo.
Formed and named after the Mackenzie area’s iconic lakes, it’s the right place to park up for sundown, particularly within the winter. I adore it right here. There’s one thing so pleasant about stress-free at a spa, one thing I reckon all of us may very well be doing extra of as of late.
Tekapo sits 720 meters above sea stage, one of many few alpine environments with a city right here in New Zealand. Whereas the new swimming pools in Tekapo aren’t geothermal, they’re stuffed from an exceptionally pure underground supply. There’s additionally a fantastic spa, stargazing at evening, an ice rink in winter, and saunas, after all.
8. Go for a improbable feed at Reflections Cafe
If I needed to decide a favourite meal in Tekapo, it might undoubtedly be at Reflections Cafe. It was so good that I ate there twice in three days.
Tremendous cozy with roaring fires, nice views over the lake, and the most effective menus round, you gained’t be in need of something right here. So many eating places in vacationer cities have high-priced menus with repetitive menus. Reflections Cafe breaks the mould with some unimaginable dishes. After a protracted chilly stroll, I parked by a window and stayed for hours studying within the sunshine.
Get the scorching pork stomach – you gained’t remorse it.
9. Go take a look at Lake Alexandrina
There are numerous well-known lakes round Tekapo, by one in all my favorites is the smaller Lake Alexandrina, simply exterior of city. An iconic South Island excessive nation lake, it’s spring-fed as an alternative of glacial-fed, which means it’s a darker shade than close by Lake Tekapo.
Well-known for fishing, I do know it nicely as a protected wildlife space. Dwelling to many native birds and no boats or engines makes Lake Alexandrina extremely serene and quiet.
It’s the right place to get away and go for a stroll.
10. Marvel on the hoar frost phenomenon
Lake Tekapo is among the few locations in New Zealand the place you would possibly encounter the phenomenon of a hoar frost. Have you ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither.
Come wintertime, on freezing, nonetheless nights, typically a dense fog rolls in from the hills. The water freezes on the whole lot the fog touches, revealing an icy panorama. It appears like snow, however it’s frost. All the things it touches sparkles. Clearly, this implies icy roads too. A hoar frost is among the few issues that may shut the highway across the Mackenzie Basin in wintertime.
Tekapo is among the greatest locations to expertise winter in New Zealand. To go to Tekapo is to expertise a totally completely different aspect of the South Island.
Have you ever been to Tekapo earlier than? Would you journey right here in winter? Spill!
Many because of Aldourie Lodge for internet hosting me to go to Tekapo – like all the time, I’m conserving it actual – all opinions are my very own like you possibly can anticipate much less from me.