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Lake Tekapo

Thursday, October 15, 2009
There's no doubt New Zealand was created for lovers of natural beauty, and if you've ever driven from Christchurch to Queenstown, you probably passed near Lake Tekapo.

We've been hearing it's a place worth spending time so we sent Kelly Landry over the Tasman for a closer look — and she found it has plenty of attractions.

The turquoise glacial lake is one of hundreds scattered across New Zealand's islands. Water comes from huge river systems flowing from large, slow moving glaciers at the base of the Southern Alps.

Tekapo Springs

This new venue has loads to do already and they are busy developing new attractions. The Skate & Soak packages are worth trying.

The 26m × 56m outdoor artificial rink is used for ice hockey, curling and figure-skating, but most people use it just to have fun on the ice. In summer the rink is used for roller-skating.

The "soak" part of the package takes place in three adjoining hot pools, cleverly landscaped to look as though nature provided them. Pool temperatures vary between 36°C and 40°C. Benched seating lets you just sit back, relax and soak. The hot pools come with massage jets and a fountain to enjoy as you take in views of the lake and Southern Alps. Many people stop off after a hard day's skiing to ease aching muscles.

Peppers Bluewater Resort

In keeping with its reputation for fine accommodation, this new Peppers property is the place to stay. Bluewater Resort was architect designed to complement the environment. Accommodation ranges from studio rooms to one-, two- and three-bedroom villas decorated in hues inspired by the lake's startling turquoise colour and surrounding earthy tones. There are lake and mountain views to choose from.

Rakinui Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner of international-standard cuisine and hearty local fare. Rakinui Lounge serves drinks and snacks throughout the day and is where guests snuggle into cosy sofas.

Day trips to hot springs, golf courses and exploring Lake Tekapo are within easy reach. You can even kayak or fish for rainbow and brown trout.

Earth & Sky Tours

The University of Canterbury's Mt John Observatory draws astronomers from around the world as the clear skies, extreme darkness and lack of pollution provide excellent star viewing.

Mt John is a roche moutonnee, an asymmetrical rock shaped by the movement of ancient glaciers. It reaches 1031m above sea level, 300m above Lake Tekapo. It's New Zealand's best observatory site with a high number of clear nights during the year. The atmosphere is stable and transparent and the Magellanic Clouds can be seen right throughout the year.


Lake Tekapo, three hours from Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.


Tekapo Springs packages are around $22 for adults, $16 for children three to 12 years of age, $20 for 13- to 18-year-olds and $78 for a family. It includes skate rental in winter, roller skates in summer and pool access. It's open every day between 10am and 9pm.

Peppers Bluewater Resort accommodation starts at around $116.

Earth & Sky's two-hour Stargazing Night Tour is around $66 for adults and $37 for children five years and older. Return transport from Earth & Sky office, full commentary, hot drinks and the thrill of peering through telescopes and binoculars are included.

Air New Zealand has flights to Christchurch.

One-way fares from:

  • Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane $219
  • Adelaide $336
  • Perth $531

Prices correct at October 15, 2009.

For further information

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

Tekapo Springs
6 Lakeside Drive
Lake Tekapo 7945
New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 680 6550

Peppers Bluewater Resort
State Highway 8
Lake Tekapo
New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 680 7000
Fax: +64 3 680 7100

Earth and Sky Tours
State Highway 8
Lake Tekapo
New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 680 6960

Visas: Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter New Zealand.

Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using the same plugs as in Australia.

Time zone: GMT +12.

Currency: the New Zealand dollar.

International dialling code: +64.

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