A selection of walks in the Lake Tekapo area. On a fine day, these walks provide incredible views of the stunning turquoise-coloured lake and vistas to surrounding mountains.
This walk starts at the eastern end of Lake Tekapo township.
Easy – mostly flat
Start at the eastern end of Lake Tekapo and meander along the lakefront and admire the views from the Church of the Good Shepherd. Follow the footpath across the bridge and then continue along the lakeshore. Information panels highlight some of the history along the walk. Continue past the hydro outlet and the footpath continues to the campground and hot pools complex.
The views of Lake Tekapo and across to the surrounding mountains are incredible on a clear day.
This walk is located along the lake side of Tekapo town and all services including public toilets, a range of restaurants, cafes and shops are available at Lake Tekapo township. Take care crossing the bridge and ensure the footpath side of the bridge is used to cross.
Start at Lake Tekapo township, cross the bridge leading into town and turn right up the path which starts just on the Eastern side of the bridge.
Relatively easy, a mix of terrain including footpath, gravel 4WD track, and forested tracks.
The walk sets off along the river bank before heading into the forest plantation behind the houses. The track climbs gently through the trees before emerging out into the open country behind. This follows the 4WD track to a high point before descending to cross a firebreak out on the open tussock lands of the Lake Tekapo Scientific Reserve. From here, it is an easy walk back to the Cowan’s Hill car park, where you can continue on to the Pines Beach Walk. This section has lovely views of Lake Tekapo, Motuariki Island and surrounding mountains.
All services including public toilets, a range of restaurants, cafes and shops are available at Lake Tekapo township.
Up to 2 hours return or 3 ½ hours to return via the lake shore track
From the centre of Lake Tekapo township, head west on State Highway 8 and take the first right down Lakeside Drive (opposite Peppers Bluewater Resort). Drive along this road and just before the Tekapo Springs complex car park, you will see a DOC sign on the left marking the start of the track.
Moderate – reasonably steep ascent in places
The track climbs steadily through larch trees before emerging out into open tussock lands. From here, there is a loop track which circles around Mt John, below the Observatory, which includes information panels. The views are stunning from up here, with 360 degree views over Lake Tekapo, Lakes McGregor and Alexandrina, the Mackenzie Basin and across to the Southern Alps.
Return the same way down or take a longer option which descends from the Observatory on a well marked track which zig zags its way down towards Lake Tekapo and continues about 50m above the lakeshore before you return back along a gravel road to the starting point of the walk.
Public toilets and cafe at the summit of Mt John. Mt John summit is exposed so prepare for changeable weather conditions.
4 hours, 13 km
Transport is required to get to the start and end points of this trail. From Lake Tekapo, start to head east on State Highway 8 and turn left onto Lilybank Road just before you leave the town.
Moderate – there are some steep sections on this track
The trail travels along an old glacial terrace providing stunning views of Lake Tekapo and surrounding mountains. It is a steep descent down the track near Boundary Stream to Lilybank Road.
None on the track, but all services including public toilets, a range of restaurants, cafes and shops are available at Lake Tekapo township. This track is exposed so be prepared for changeable weather conditions.
2 ½ hours
From Lake Tekapo township, head west on State Highway 8 and a couple of minutes from town, take a right turn onto Godley Peaks Road. Continue on this road for a few minutes and there is a car park area on the right, near Lake McGregor.
Easy – undulating terrain near the lakeshore and on gravel road
From the car park, follow the shoreline around the peninsula and return via Godley Peaks Road. There are lovely views of the lake, Mt John, and surrounding mountains.
None on the track, but all services including public toilets, a range of restaurants, cafes and shops are available at Lake Tekapo township. This track is exposed so be prepared for changeable weather conditions