I love turquoise blue lakes! Well, who doesn’t, right?!
With the Southern Alps planning across the South Island, New Zealand has no shortage of lakes. Every lake in New Zealand (not that I’ve explored ALL the lakes) is unique and breathtaking in its own unique way.
However, the two lakes that really stood out for me are Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki in the MacKenzie Basin. When I first saw these two lakes, I couldn’t get my eyes off of them and to this day, the views appear fresh in memory and still linger around in my eyesight every so often.
The first time I saw Lake Tekapo was in a travel documentary and I was stunned by its beauty. Needless to say, we planned a visit to Lake Tekapo while planning the New Zealand trip.
When I saw the lake in person, it was better than what I had seen in the video; beyond what I had imagined. The colorful flowers skirting the lake, the blue color lake and the snow white color Southern Alps serving as its perfect backdrop; it was a feast to the eyes!
The Church of the Good Shepherd, which was built in 1935 and situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo is the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin. It is unequivocally one of the most photographed locations in New Zealand. The church is still active with service on every Sunday. It is also a very popular spot to see the Milky Way galaxy in the middle of the night.
Close to the Church of the Good Shepherd is the acclaimed statue of a New Zealand Collie sheepdog. The significance of this statue was to recognize the vital role in grazing of mountain country.
Lake Tekapo, no matter what time of the day it is, makes very photographer’s dream a reality with its stunning beauty.
If you are craving for an aerial view of this splendid lake (and I know you will), take a short 15-20 min up the hills to Mt. John Observatory. You will not only be greeted by breathtaking views of Lake Tekapo, but you’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the views of Lake Alexandrina. While driving up the mountain to the observatory, it is very tempting to stop on the way to click pictures, but continue your way up. Much much better views are waiting for you from the summit.
If you are interested in night photography, take your cameras and tripod and head over to the Church of the Good Shepherd. You won’t be alone; there’s always a gaggle of photographers clicking thousands and thousands of picture, hoping to capture that perfect shot. Just be sure to take your flash lights with you.
On a different yet related note (for foodies), while you are in Lake Tekapo, check out Run 77 for brekkie and MacKenzie Bar and Grill for dinner. They serve some of the most delicious food!
Lake Pukaki, is not too far away from Lake Tekapo. The drive from Tekapo to Pukaki is not a very interesting one. Right at the time when you think the scenery cannot get any more banal, the views of the gorgeous turquoise blue Lake Pukaki opens up. And so does your mouth, gaping at its unparalleled beauty.
There are “undesignated” parking spaces by the side of the road, from where one can walk down to the beach. We sat on one of the rocks on the shore and gawked at it for a very long time. You can never get enough of Lake Pukaki.
The view from the Visitor Center is also equally gorgeous.
Another fabulous viewpoint is Peter’s Lookout, from where one can get a closer view of the Southern Alps with the lake in the foreground.
Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are two lakes that I’ll never forget in my lifetime. Their beauty keeps haunting me everyday, can you believe it!?