Lake Tekapo

If you’re following along with our New Zealand itinerary you’ll see that after we left Rakaia Gorge we drove to Lake Tekapo where we stayed for three nights. We stayed at a small B&B called the Lake Tekapo Luxury Lodge and were very happy with the accommodations and location. The first night we arrived we ate at a delicious Japanese restaurant that I’d highly recommend called Kohan. The views of the lake were spectacular and the salmon sashimi was the freshest I’ve ever tasted. For once I didn’t bring my camera and I learned my lesson as the sunset was simply incredible. I guess sometimes it’s good to experience things firsthand without the ability to document them but I was kicking myself!

The next morning we took the Lakeshore trail along the beach up Mt. John.

Below you see the famous Church of the Good Shepherd which is a tiny charming church right on the shore of Lake Tekapo. From dawn till dusk tour buses rumble in and out of the parking lot but if you catch it at the right time it is simple and beautiful – what a place to get married! Lupines in the foreground don’t hurt either 🙂

The Church of the Good Shepard Lake Tekapo

We walked from our hotel to Mt. John instead of driving through town which was a nice walk along the lakeshore. We were a bit confused at first about where to go as from the map it looked like you were walking right along the water when in reality you are quite a bit above it. Still – beautiful views and very few people on this leg.

Man walking along the shores of Lake Tekapo

What a lookout! Views over glacier blue Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains on the hills of Mt. John

I took pictures whenever I needed a break 🙂 This doesn’t look steep but I was puffing by this point! Mt. John doesn’t seem that tall but when you are climbing up it is!!

You can also drive to the top of Mt. John so although you can’t see people in the photos once you arrive it is fairly busy. The benefit is that there is a lovely cafe at the top so our hard work was rewarded with a delicious lunch! Then we walked down via the Mt. John Summit Trail. Many people were going up this way but I’m glad we didn’t….it’s pretty much straight up through woods instead of the gradual (and longer) climb that we had done. I’d recommend going the Lakeshore trail up and Mt. John Summit trail down.

Note the specs of color in the photo below….those are fields of lupines and my obsession reached a whole new level when I saw them in person later that afternoon

The woods are beautiful and a bit eerie looking on the way down

Can you believe it? They were running agricultural field trials so there were heaps of lupines as far the eye could see – simply incredible. 

Pink, Purple, and blue lupines

Heaven.

Purple lupine field

Man walking between lupines Lake Tekapo New Zealand

We drove a bit further and walked the Godley Peaks Road Loop Track (on the road to McGregor) – we only saw three other people (and a lot of sheep) but the views were spectacular. It only took us about 45 minutes- well worth it if you have the time!

Couple posing along Godley Peaks Road Loop Track

More lupines at the end of that hike

Field of lupines

My trusty chauffeur/location scout 🙂

That night we ate at McKenzie’s in town which was ok but not fabulous – they were quite busy so the service was pretty slow….I’d stick with Kohan 🙂

The next day we visited Mt. Cook (photos of that in my next post)

On New Year’s eve in Lake Tekapo a local marching band comes and walks back and forth along Main street playing….children follow 🙂

Note that restaurants stop serving at 9 – we learned this that night so ended up doing takeout pizza and watching the sunset (or rather the lake reflecting the sunset which was behind us)….that’s ok with me 🙂

Stay tuned next week for pictures from Mt. Cook!
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