Few places in the world are as serene & surreal as Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
Nestled in the MacKenzie basin, Tekapo is the gateway to Mt. Cook National Park. The lake itself is pretty massive, with its turquoise waters & reflections of the surrounding mountains. It’s quite the sight to behold in spring, with pink & purple lupin flowers lining the lake. Along with the historic landmark, Church of Good Shepherd, it’s a place that’s hard to forget.
But the real reason I’m convinced that the most beautiful nights are at Lake Tekapo is its night sky. A Unesco heritage site, Tekapo is part of the largest International Dark Sky Reserve, which means you can see the stars clearly, for miles and miles ahead. Within half hour of sunset, the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. I have never in my life, seen stars as brightly as I did here. In the glamour & glitz of our modern cities, we sometimes forget that the grandest creations, are the ones that are just beyond our doorstep. One merely has to look up.
An enchanting evening in Tekapo
We flew down from North Island to Christchurch on an early morning flight, and then drove from Christchurch to Fairlie, a small town about half hour from Tekapo. Yes, the flight & driving were certainly exhausting, but oh-so-worth-it!
We stayed at an Alpaca farm in Fairlie, look who stopped by our window to say hi!
Around dinner and breakfast, the Alplaca, Sheep and Illamas would come by our room and look to us for snacks. These dudes are living the sweet life my friends!
A half hour drive later, it was close to 7 PM, the New Zealand summer sun doesen’t set till 10 PM, I was completely lost in these views…
Walking to Lake Tekapo
Like, seriously, how are you this blue??
Guess we missed the blooming Lupin flowers, which I’m told are bright purple & pink where the bushes are. I can only imagine how stunning that would be!
And there’s the Church of the Good Shepherd
The place took on an ethereal feel after sunset.
But the real magic began, after sunset…
Stargazing at Lake Tekapo
This is what we saw, on stepping out of the restaurant….
Astrophotography at the Church of Good Shepherd was so beautiful.
As the night grew, the stars only got brighter. What a sight.
Planning Your Trip
Good for: Road trip, Date night, Picnic, Sunset, Nature & Scenery, Stargazing
When to go: Anytime of year, sun sets later in summer (Nov — Feb)
Recommended Tours: Earth & Sky offer stargazing tours by Mt. John observatory
Where to Eat:Tekapo is a tiny town, with a handful of eateries on State Highway 8. Most restaurants will not serve dinner past 9 PM, so budget time for dinner! We almost missed dinner, because I was so lost in taking photos! Glad we didn’t because I turn into the Hulk when I’m not fed.
Kohan Restaurant | Japanese Sushi
Mackenzie’s Bar & Grill | Pizza, Pasta & Burgers *most vegetarian friendly option
Astro Cafe | 360 degree views, in a glass walled cafe
Fairlie Bakehouse | Popular Cafe in Fairlie
What to Take: Camera, tripod, a small flashlight, blanket & layers to stay warm after sunset
Everytime I see the stars now, I think of Tekapo, and I highly recommend it for pristine, unforgettable star gazing.
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