Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Postcard: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

  • Famous for its crystal-clear lake and mountain backdrop, Lake Tekapo is situated in the centre of the South Island.
  • is the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand.
  • It is is about three hours drive south-west of Christchurch.
  • It covers an area of 83 square kilometres and is at an altitude of 710 metres above sea level.
  • The lake is fed at its northern end by both the braided Godley River and Macauley River, which have their sources in the Southern Alps to the north.
  • Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise colour from the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) which is suspended in the water.
  • The average water temperature of the surface of the lake varies between a low of between 5.8 and 5.9 degrees Celsius in September and a high of 17 degrees Celsius in January.
  • Lake Tekapo is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand with annual sunshine hours averaging more than 2.400 each year.
  • Tekapo is an incorrect spelling of Takapo, the Maori name for Lake Tekapo. Takapo means to leave in haste at night.
  • Lake Tekapo is also known for its stunning seasonal display of Lupin that bloom along its shores from around Mid November until the end of December.
  • Lake Tekapo and the surrounding district were recognized as an International Dark Ski Reserve in 2012. The reserve is 4.367 square kilometres in size, making it amongst the worlds largest. The Dark Sky Reserve accreditation recognizes that the night skies are almost completely free of light pollution and ideal for star gazing.
  • Tekapo is home to one of the most famous heritage buildings in New Zealand, the Church of the Good Shepherd. It is arguably one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand, built on the lake shore it offers a stunning view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

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