Lake Tekapo is a small town located at the southern end of the lake, being one of only five settlements in the sparsely populated Mackenzie Basin.
SH 8 runs directly through the township of Lake Tekapo - 227 km from Christchurch and 256 km from Queenstown. Daily shuttle services link Lake Tekapo to Christchurch and Queenstown. The town is a popular tourist destination, for obvious reasons as the highlights being the Church of the Good Shepard and the picture perfect Torquoise Lake
and several resort hotels are located in the township. Lake Tekapo Airport is located 5 km west of the town for the popular scenic flights
The Maori people where first to discover the Mackenzie Basin. The name Tekapo derives from the Maori words taka (sleeping mat) and po (night). The Mackenzie Basin became known to Europeans in 1855 when, in order to find a better route, James Mackenzie, a Scottish sheep thief, went inland and discovered the high country that now bears his name
The Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1935. it's open to the public from 9am to 5pm during summer (Oct to Apr) and 10am to 4pm in winter (May to Sept). Dog Statue, which is dedicated to the working collies of Mackenzie - also hugely popular with Photographers trying to capture the church and the lake in a still reflected composition.
Mount John University Observatory
its very clear atmosphere, large number of clear sky nights, and largely free from light pollution, Mount John University Observatory is located on a small hill to the north of the town. Originally set up by the University of Pennsylvania (looking for a southern hemisphere location), it is now operated by the University of Canterbury. From 1969 to 1982, the United States Air Force had a satellite station next to the observatory. In June 2012, an area of 430,000 hectares around Tekapo was declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, one of only four such reserves around the world
There is also a cafe, so when you have reached the summit from your hike or have taken the drive which costs ($8) per vehicle - That you can relax at ........
I stayed at the Lake Tekapo Holiday Park, which is situated on the left side of the lake on prime real estate. It boast fantastic views of the majestic Torquiose blue lake and is a short walk from the thermal springs at the base of Mt John. the Track Head also starts here for which takes about 40mins to 1hour to reach the top with awesome views of Lake Tekapo and looking out to Aoraki Mt Cook -
Lake Tekapo is where I met two good friends TONY AND TRUC we went to Lake Tekapo Thermal Springs which are man made pools that has a maximum temp of 38 degrees that you can work your way up too - Fantastic way to relax and recharge and enjoy the other facilities it has to offer.
For Dinner we went to the local Tavern and grabbed a table over looking the lake and enjoyed some pub food in a grand location. That night we went to the Church of the good Shepherd just like every other Tourist in the town (OMG IN SOME RESPECTS WHAT A BAD MOVE) it was like a light show with PHONES, TOURCHES and those PESKY little red camera lights adding to the scene. With other people having zero consideration it made it very challenging trying to capture a image before the Moon was to rise.
The next day was met by a very colourless sunrise then followed by a breaky cooked by Truc overlooking the FAB views of the lake. I was then off to Aoraki Mt Cook to Shoot n Hike.....
AORAKI MT COOK
Elevation: 3,724m (12,218 ft)
Prominence: 3,724 m (12,218 ft) Ranked 39th
Isolation: 3,140 kilometres (1,950 mi)
Listing Country high point Ultra
Coordinates: 43°35′42.2″S 170°8′31.7″E
Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height is listed as 3,724 metres (12,218 feet), down on the listed 3,764 m (12,349 ft) before December 1991, due to a rockslide and subsequent erosion. It lies in well defined Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination for tourist and outdoor enthausists. Aoraki / Mount Cook consists of three summits, from South to North the Low Peak (3,593 m or 11,788 ft), Middle Peak (3,717 m or 12,195 ft) and High Peak. The summits lie slightly south and east of the main divide of the Southern Alps, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the southwest.
The mountain is in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which is known as the Canterbury region. The park was established in 1953 as well as with the Westland National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park they all form one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) and 72 named glaciers, which cover 40 percent of its 700 square kilometres (170,000 acres).
Mt Cook Village, also referred to as "Aoraki / Mount Cook" , is a tourist centre and base camp for the mountains. It is a 8km from the end of Tasman Glacier car park and 15km south of Aoraki Mt Cook Summit.
Wether you are deep in the mountains doing some crazy adventure or touring by car you are in ridiculous AWE of these towering and dramatic landscape.
It speaks of grand power and beauty all wrapped in one ...
Aoraki is the name of a person in the traditions of the Ngāi Tahu iwi; an early name for the South Island is Te Waka o Aoraki (Aoraki's Canoe). In the past many believed it meant "Cloud Piercer", of the name's components: ao (world, daytime, cloud, etc.) and raki or rangi (day, sky, weather) Historically, the Māori name has been spelt Aorangi, using the standard Māori form.
Aoraki / Mount Cook has been known to Maori since their arrival in New Zealand some time around the 14th Century CE. The first Europeans who may have seen Aoraki / Mount Cook were members of Abel Tasman's crew, who saw a "large land uplifted high" (probably some part of the Southern Alps) while off the west coast of the South Island, just north of present-day Greymouth
I took the mad dash to Aoraki Mt Cook from Lake Tekapo, stopping at a amazing lookout but was very hazy lookout out the mountains and the drive along the start of lake Pukaki is nothing short of amazing. As soon as I arrived I went straight to White Horse Camp Ground to hike up to Sealy Tarns Lookout. Which goes STRAIGHT UP 2200 stairs, whats vista once there and is also the continuation up to Muller Hut - Truly Amazing views. Yes I should have hike up the exposed mountain to the hut as my passed experience was in a complete white out but I wanted to make the most of the partly cloudy conditions and went back down to complete the Hooker Valley hike to the lake and view of the Terminal lake and Aoraki Mt Cook - It Got there in good time but I waited patiently for several hours for the damm clouds to ping off and There she was finally just before sunset I grab a few shot on a Morraine wall I walked up to capture a few before the light was lost for good...
I was not to arrive at White Horse Camp Ground until after 9pm where no immediate parking was available at the camp ground, once i pitched my tent in the dark, unfortunately there was a lost opportunity to shoot Stars with the high cloud. I then woke the next morning slapping these little black buggers off and did not realise until a few days later when I was covered in a Army of red limps that they were Sand Flies -
Images below are from the hooker valley walk which ends at the Hooker Glacier Lake