These days, I discover myself muttering issues like, I bear in mind when this place was solely this massive. Is that this an indication I’m getting previous? I’ve been fortunate sufficient to name New Zealand house for practically a decade, which implies I’ve watched loads of locations change, develop, and evolve with the instances, particularly in relation to tourism.
Lake Tekapo is a kind of spots.
Eternally standard, Tekapo was positively heaving with vacationers till the borders closed. Like so lots of our South Island cities, when the vacationers left, they grew to become 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 mates Hollie of Mountain Home Artistic, moved there just a few years in the past, I discovered myself once more stopping and spending time in Tekapo as I as soon as did after I first moved to the South Island. To go to Tekapo is to see one in all my favourite components 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 Nation, Tekapo has earned its place among the many most iconic New Zealand views.
Earlier than the pandemic, Tekapo was a kind 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 unbelievable surroundings, plenty of journey, darkish evening skies, and the kindest locals you’ll ever meet, I used to be so blissful to spend a number of days right here soaking all of it in. And when Tekapo places on her winter coat, effectively, there’s 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 few 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 feel Tekapo is essentially the most lovely in winter, particularly when there’s lots 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. Cook 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 certain. Not that now we have quite a bit in comparison with the place I grew up within the Bible Belt of America.
Lake Tekapo will get its iconic vibrant turquoise blue coloration from the tremendous fantastic glacial powder suspended within the water. The mountain glaciers grind rocks into fantastic mud on their journey towards the lake. The lake usually 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 pretty much as good because it will get!
A stone’s throw away from the well-known Church of the Good Shepherd, with a few 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 depart. Nestled on the shores of Lake Tekapo, in an period of unprecedented growth throughout New Zealand, there’s one thing so pretty 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 Avenue Studio, sleeping two. While you go to Tekapo, attempt to keep right here.
3. Seize one of the best espresso and relax on the Jack Rabbit Cafe
I’ll allow you to in on a secret, one of the best espresso and views on the town are from Jack Rabbit Cafe, proper throughout from the footbridge. As a author, I at all times search for cafe areas that really feel cozy and welcoming. 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 mates, conceal away with a great guide on a wet day, or convey your laptop and do some writing.
You’ll be able to’t go unsuitable right here with epic out of doors 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 while you go to Tekapo, is to take a scenic flight across the iconic mountains. In the event 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 because the 70s. Household-owned and operated, they fly in fixed-wing small plane and helicopters. Each are superb.
The journey you need to do is the epic Grand Traverse, which flies over the gorgeous excessive nation stations and braided rivers. You’ll cross by Aoraki/Mt. Cook dinner, alongside the alps and the glaciers, together with the Tasman Glacier. Ultimately, 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. Cook dinner Franz and Fox Magic tour is simply as superb and features a snow touchdown.
My favourite half is hovering over the long-lasting purple mountaineering huts in Mt. Cook dinner Nationwide Park. Sitting at 2200m, Plateau Hut seems straight throughout the huge Grand Plateau icefield to the east face of Aoraki/Mt Cook dinner. Perched on the world’s edge, the Grand Plateau icefields drain into the Hochstetter Icefall, descending right down to the Tasman Glacier. This hut will likely be abuzz with climbers on their approach to sort out New Zealand’s highest mountain within the summertime.
5. Decide up a guide or two at Petronella’s and the native gallery upstairs
My new favourite bookstore in all of New Zealand is correct within the heart of Lake Tekapo – Petronella’s Gallery Bookstore. I can’t even start to explain how a lot I like a considerate, well-curated bookstore. They make me so blissful.
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 at all times my restrict, which is excessive in New Zealand, contemplating how a lot books value right here. However humorous sufficient, irrespective of my monetary state (and the way broke I’m), I at all times be sure that I should buy a guide.
To me, books are as important as meals and lease – are you able to relate?
I drive by way of Tekapo usually as of late on my journeys to and from Wanaka to Lyttelton as I verify in on my store NODE. I at all times be sure that 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 presents. 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 unbelievable evening skies with a personal stargazing tour
Tekapo is known 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 Worldwide Darkish Sky Reserve is comprised of Aoraki/Mt. Cook dinner Nationwide Park and the Mackenzie Basin. There are strict guidelines round gentle air pollution, which blocks out the sky. This implies Tekapo is among the greatest locations in New Zealand to look at the celebs.
The stone church with the Milky Means twinkling above is among the most iconic photographs of Tekapo and one I lastly shot for the primary time on this journey. While you go to Tekapo, you’ll see how standard that is.
Joseph Pooley is a neighborhood professional photographer who provides personal stargazing excursions and astrophotography workshops proper right here in Tekapo. With Alpha Crux Stargazing, he involves you with personal, bespoke stargazing excursions throughout Tekapo. With a high-powered telescope and laser, you possibly can be taught and consider the celebs with an professional proper the place you’re staying; how superb is that?
As a result of I’m additionally a photographer, I used to be curious to be taught extra about deep area pictures, 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 complicated and time-consuming, however the reward is value it while you get these iconic, nebular-like photographs of distant galaxies. Right here’s my first try at deep area pictures, 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 sizzling 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 proper place to park up for sundown, particularly within the winter. I like it right here. There’s one thing so pleasant about stress-free at a spa, one thing I reckon all of us could possibly 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 crammed from an exceptionally pure underground supply. There’s additionally a good looking spa, stargazing at evening, an ice rink in winter, and saunas, in fact.
8. Go for a improbable feed at Reflections Cafe
If I needed to choose a favourite meal in Tekapo, it will positively 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 among the best 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 mildew with some unbelievable 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 outdoors 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 coloration than close by Lake Tekapo.
Well-known for fishing, I do know it effectively as a protected wildlife space. Residence to many native birds and no boats or engines makes Lake Alexandrina extremely serene and quiet.
It’s the proper 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 every part the fog touches, revealing an icy panorama. It seems like snow, however it’s frost. Every part it touches sparkles. Clearly, this implies icy roads too. A hoar frost is among the few issues that may shut the street 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 facet of the South Island.
Have you ever been to Tekapo earlier than? Would you journey right here in winter? Spill!
Many due to Aldourie Lodge for internet hosting me to go to Tekapo – like at all times, I’m conserving it actual – all opinions are my very own like you would count on much less from me.