The most beautiful nights are at enchanting Lake Tekapo

Few places in the world are as serene & surreal as Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.

Nestled in the MacKenzie basin, Tekapo is the gateway to Mt. Cook National Park. The lake itself is pretty massive, with its turquoise waters & reflections of the surrounding mountains. It’s quite the sight to behold in spring, with pink & purple lupin flowers lining the lake. Along with the historic landmark, Church of Good Shepherd, it’s a place that’s hard to forget.

But the real reason I’m convinced that the most beautiful nights are at Lake Tekapo is its night sky. A Unesco heritage site, Tekapo is part of the largest International Dark Sky Reserve, which means you can see the stars clearly, for miles and miles ahead. Within half hour of sunset, the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. I have never in my life, seen stars as brightly as I did here. In the glamour & glitz of our modern cities, we sometimes forget that the grandest creations, are the ones that are just beyond our doorstep. One merely has to look up 🙂

An enchanting evening in Tekapo

We flew down from North Island to Christchurch on an early morning flight, and then drove from Christchurch to Fairlie, a small town about half hour from Tekapo. Yes, the flight & driving were certainly exhausting, but oh-so-worth-it!

We stayed at an Alpaca farm in Fairlie, look who stopped by our window to say hi!

Don’t mind me, I’m just walkin by

Around dinner and breakfast, the Alplaca, Sheep and Illamas would come by our room and look to us for snacks. These dudes are living the sweet life my friends!

For the last time, no, I don’t want to be your FB friend! Now, feed me human!

A half hour drive later, it was close to 7 PM, the New Zealand summer sun doesen’t set till 10 PM, I was completely lost in these views…

Walking to Lake Tekapo

Like, seriously, how are you this blue??

Guess we missed the blooming Lupin flowers, which I’m told are bright purple & pink where the bushes are. I can only imagine how stunning that would be!

Lupin flower bushes framing the lake

Click to expand images

And there’s the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Church of the Good Shepherd

The place took on an ethereal feel after sunset.

Southern Alps over Lake Tekapo

Purple overdrive on this sunset

But the real magic began, after sunset…

Stargazing at Lake Tekapo

This is what we saw, on stepping out of the restaurant….

Astrophotography at the Church of Good Shepherd


So beautiful.

As the night grew, the stars only got brighter. What a sight.

Planning Your Trip

Good for:  Road trip, Date night, Picnic, Sunset, Nature & Scenery, Stargazing
When to go: Anytime of year, sun sets later in summer (Nov – Feb)
Recommended Tours: Earth & Sky offer stargazing tours by Mt. John observatory
Where to Eat:  Tekapo is a tiny town, with a handful of eateries on State Highway 8. Most restaurants will not serve dinner past 9 PM, so budget time for dinner! We allllmmooostt missed dinner, because I was so lost in taking photos! Glad we didn’t because I turn into the Hulk when I’m not fed.

Kohan Restaurant | Japanese Sushi
Mackenzie’s Bar & Grill | Pizza, Pasta & Burgers *most vegetarian friendly option
Astro Cafe | 360 degree views, in a glass walled cafe
Fairlie Bakehouse | Popular Cafe in Fairlie

What to Take: Camera, tripod, a small flashlight, blanket & layers to stay warm after sunset

Everytime I see the stars now, I think of Tekapo, and that’s why this place is a must-see to find Mojo!

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Also published on Medium.

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Eric || The Bucket List Project March 29, 2017 at 7:08 PM

Oh wow…that night sky looked amazing. To think there is a Unesco site just based on the amount of stars you can witness around a beautiful lake. Plus that sunset photo was amazing as well. Do you use a special camera to take those pics or can I get lucky with my cell phone camera?

Jyo April 1, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Thank you Eric! I use a Canon DSLR, but you can definetly take pictures with your cell phone camera too! I’ve seen some beautiful pictures on iPhones – you can try a manual setting, with a high ISO, and no flash, and I’m sure you would still get stellar photos! 😀

Aarika March 30, 2017 at 4:38 PM

I must travel here! Lake Takapo IS absolutely enchanting. Those night views are incredible, and how much fun was the meet and greet with alpacas?! Love it all!

Stephanie Tenney April 1, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Such amazing pictures!

Sheila April 1, 2017 at 1:38 PM

Oh my, stargazing here would be so magical!

circleskirtsandpetticoats April 1, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Oh my goodness, this looks like such a beautiful place!

xo, Helene

Julie April 1, 2017 at 6:16 PM

Such a beautiful part of the world. Now on my list of things to do nn my next visit to New Zealand.

WorldPacking Canuck April 1, 2017 at 8:52 PM

Your photos are AMAZING!!! I had never heard of lake Tekapo before, but will definitely look into it now!

Marina April 2, 2017 at 12:45 AM

Wooooo! The pics are stunningly beautiful! Thanks for sharing! Will keep this place in mind

traveldejavu0 April 2, 2017 at 6:47 AM

night sky in this looks amazing, I can be at this place for entire day just to breath well and meditate! Haha! 😀

Samantha April 2, 2017 at 4:17 PM

These views are breath taking! Wow! I would love to visit !

Sarj April 3, 2017 at 1:34 AM

Your photos were WOW! Seriously, you should submit them to a travel magazine or something! 😉 I would have done that stargazing tour if I had known! We camped around there! I love lake Tekapo, it’s so peaceful and beautiful!


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