Lake Tekapo is a very small town which is becoming increasingly popular with visitors due to its location in a dark sky reserve. It also makes for a beautiful stop between Queenstown and Christchurch.
As Lake Tekapo has become so popular and there are limited accommodation options it is best to try and book well ahead. We spent two nights in a glamping tent which was a bit different to the dorms we’ve been staying in elsewhere! It was good fun but I was very grateful for the extra blanket and hot water bottle that we’d been provided with as it got pretty chilly at night.
The afternoon that we arrived we hiked up to the top of Mount John which is only about a two hour return walk and is where the observatory is based. There are good views from the top but I’d been spoilt by the recent view from the top of Ben Lomond so didn’t appreciate them as much as I might have done earlier in the trip. It’s an ongoing problem in New Zealand – the country is just too beautiful for its own good!
In the evening we wanted to see some stars but as a dark sky reserve it was naturally cloudy (see our trip to Kielder earlier in the year)… We headed over to the Church of the Good Shepherd where there were plenty of people lined up with cameras and tripods to try and get the iconic picture of the church with the stars behind it. There were lots of people there with torches or car headlights turned on so it was really difficult to see the stars as your eyes weren’t properly adjusted to the dark.
As it was cloudy and the moon was throwing out quite a lot of light it was difficult to see anything for a while but it started to clear and we saw the Southern Cross, Orion and several other constellations. It wasn’t quite as spectacular as I’d hoped for but it was still pretty and I imagine it would be pretty magical on a perfectly clear night from the observatory.
The following day we decided to try out something completely different and ended up hiring a tandem for a couple of hours which was a bit of a novelty. It was difficult to get the balance right to begin with but I think we got the hang of it… Neither of us fell off at least! We cycled a short way around the lake to admire the lupins in flower before returning back past the church.
Lake Tekapo probably isn’t somewhere you’d want to spend more than a couple of nights at but it is quite pretty. There are also some hot pools which you can visit and enjoy that we opted not to go to but I probably would if we returned for any reason.