Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Tekapo — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Lake Tekapo cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is located in the center of South Island, New Zealand. Known for its intense turquoise hue, the lake stays that color because of “rock flour” or finely ground rocks which are suspended in the water and are remnants from the glacial period. The Maori people were the first to live in the area and were self sustained by making tools from stone, fishing eels, and hunting birds. Tekapo is a Maori word formed by the words taka(sleeping mat) and po (night).

On the shores of the lake is the township of Lake Tekapo. A ski resort in the winter and aquatic playground in the summer make this area a year round destination for fun and excitement. The town faces north with a remarkable view across the blue water to the Southern Alps. The main industries are tourism and sheep herding with wool byproducts. A bronze statue of a sheepdog is located on the shore as a tribute to the invaluable work done by sheepdogs in allowing sheep to graze on the mountainous terrain around the town and lake.

In the summer, visitors and residents enjoy swimming, boating, waterskiing, kayaking, windsurfing, camping, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, scenic flights, and golf. During the cold winter months, snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, heli-skiing, and ice skating will keep you active. Fishing for rainbow trout, brown trout and salmon keep anglers busy on the sparkling water of Lake Tekapo. With wide open skies, clear winter nights are perfect for star gazing and enjoying the spectacular light show of the Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights. No matter which activity you choose to enjoy, vacation rentals are plentiful in the area and range from hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, rental cottages, vacation homes and campgrounds to suit all budgets and comfort requirements. Lake Tekapo is also a favored real estate area with a demand for lake front homes as summer homes or vacation properties.

Lake Tekapo is situated in the beautiful and geographically diverse Canterbury Tourist Region of New Zealand. The region stretches from a large central portion of the East Coast of the South Island to the rugged peaks of the Southern Alps. Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand and Canterbury Region and is in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park which is part of the South Westland World Heritage Area. Aoraki is a Maori word for Cloud Piercer. Hammer Springs a popular spa town has been enticing visitors with its soothing mineral waters since 1859 to stop by relax, unwind, and leave their aches and pains in the warm-water springs. Along the shores, visitors will be thrilled to swim with the world’s rarest dolphin, the Hectors dolphin which calls this shoreline their home along with giant sperm whales which can be seen off shore all year round. To fully appreciate the beauty of the area, hop into a hot air balloon for a breath taking scenic tour. Throughout the area, outdoor activities will keep you breathless from the excitement of river rafting, bungee jumping, rock climbing and mountain biking. However, make sure that you do take time to slow down and experience the culinary delights and wines offered in local dining establishments.

There is so much to do and so many ways to explore Lake Tekapo and the Canterbury Region that you may need another vacation just to relax from the fun and excitement that is Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.

Things to Do at Lake Tekapo

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Lake Tekapo

  • Brown Trout
  • Eel
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Tekapo

If you’re considering a Lake Tekapo lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Tekapo Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Tekapo lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Tekapo Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Meridan Energy

Surface Area: 15,360 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,300 feet

Average Depth: 69 feet

Maximum Depth: 120 feet

Water Volume: 490,000 acre-feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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