Absolutely, it is all the hype. A lot of the posts on Instagram in the spring/ early summer in New Zealand come from Lake Tekapo and its huge turquoise lake with lake shores bursting with purple flowers. It’s a photo shoot mecca for photographers and insta- stars alike, and what’s more- it’s an EASY stop on any road trip from Queenstown to Christchurch or vice versa as it is right in the middle of the 2 on the main highway.
About Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo is the 2nd largest of 3 parallel lakes in the Mackenzie Basin. It’s stunning milky-turquoise color comes from fine rock-flour suspended in the water. The water is glacier fed from the Southern Alps. Around the lake you’ll find the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd which was built in 1935 for pioneer families and has windows framing the perfect view of mountain and lake.
Lake Tekapo is also located in a UNESCO Dark Sky reserve making it a fantastic spot for stargazing the southern sky. If you’re really into star peeping you can also visit the nearby Mount John Observatory where on a clear night- you have a decent chance of experiencing the southern lights.
Things to do at Lake Tekapo
- Frolic in the flowers
- Tekapo Hot Springs
- Tour the Mount John Observatory
- 4WD or horseback riding high country tours
- Check out Lake Pukaki and nearby Mount Cook National Park
Lake Tekapo flowers season
While these special purple flowers can bloom all spring and summer long in NZ, around Lake Tekapo their peak season is end of November through late December.
Our experience at Lake Tekapo
While we didn’t plan much time in the area, it was definitely on my must-stop list. We pulled in around noon and parked in the easy free- grass lots alongside the highway. From there you just cross the road and pick a path down to the lakeshore.
We weren’t there on a very sunny day unfortunately for photos, but I think it may have kept the crowds down somewhat and it was easy to wander among the flowers, get great photos, and just enjoy being by the lake. With purple being one of my favorite colors, I admit to being more than a little obsessed with all the flowers, and even Braden enjoyed using portrait mode on our new google pixels to photograph the beauties. After hanging out at the lake about an hour, we grabbed some lunch in Tekapo at the cheapest place we could find before hitting the road to continue to Mount Cook National Park.