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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Canterbury > Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

This small lakeside village is a hugely popular stopover en route from Christchurch to Queenstown. It boasts incredibly blue water and stunning views of Aoraki/Mount Cook, making it one of the most photographed spots on the island. There are several good accommodation options here, and it is worth staying a night to see the brilliant starry skies from the observatory on Mount John. It is a popular skiing spot in winter and in summer its walking tracks and kayaking are popular.

Coming & going

Atomic Shuttles (tel (03) 349 0697), InterCity Coachlines (tel (03) 365 1113), Nakedbus.com and Southern Link K Bus (tel (03) 358 8355 or 0508 458 835) services stop in Tekapo en route between Christchurch and Queenstown. Most buses stop at the Shell Service Station, but InterCity stops outside High Country Crafts.

Timaru’s local Metro bus service (tel (03) 688 5544) has a regional route that runs from Timaru to Twizel via Tekapo. The Cook Connection (tel 025 583 211) shuttle goes to Twizel and Aoraki/Mount Cook. It departs from the information centre and will also pick up from Tekapo’s hostels.

Hostel accommodation

Lakefront Backpackers Lodge

2 Lake Side Drive, Tekapo
Tel (03) 680 6227 or 0800 853 853

Lake Tekapo Budget Accommodation

Lakeside Drive, Tekapo
Tel (03) 6806 825

Lake Tekapo YHA

3 Simpson Lane, Tekapo
Tel (03) 680 6857

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Tailor-Made Tekapo Backpackers

9-11 Aorangi Crescent, Tekapo
Tel (03) 680 6700

Eating & drinking

There are no banks or ATMs in the village and prices are high so you should consider bringing your own groceries. Otherwise, there is a small supermarket in the centre of town. There are some takeaway lunch spots with moderately priced food. Doughboy’s Bakery has a line out the door at mid-day for their cheap meals and delicious pies. Jade Palace Chinese also does a cheap lunch takeaway menu.


Scenic flights

Air Safaris (tel (03) 680 6880) operate 50-minute scenic flights from Lake Tekapo that fly over Lake Tekapo; Franz Josef, Fox, Balfour, La Perouse and Tasman Glaciers and include a loop around Mount Cook. This flight costs $280.

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