Lakes of New Zealand

New Zealand is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world thanks to its abundance of untouched nature and remote mountains that will spark the fire of adventure and wanderlust in anyone who sets foot upon its shores.

New Zealand is known for its incredible beauty, unique animals and wonderful landscapes. If you’re on the other side of the world, dreaming of an adventure in New Zealand and you are thinking about what you should visit first, here I will share my second blog with our route in the South Island. Now I will talk about our adventures in Lake Teakpo and Akaroa.

New Zealand church

Church of the good Shepherd

This little stone church is one of the most iconic images of the South Island and its pretty hard to miss it when you’ll visit Lake Teakpo. It’s also used as a view point at night, for sky gazing. The church is situated on the lakefront, where the view is framed whith vivid blue waters, stunning starry night sky and the dramatic mountains all around.

Breathtaking scenery
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

When you think of New Zealand, the image of pastel blue coloured lake and colourful fields of purple lupins probably come to mind. Even if you’re not planning on taking an astro tour (which I highly recommend you), if you have enough time try to take in the amazing panoramic views over the Mackenzie Basin. The cafe makes this a great spot to grab a coffee or brunch.

when to visit Lake Tekapo

I gotta say, you can’t really go wrong when it comes to Lake Tekapo. During summer time the lake becomes colourful with wildflowers, the famous lupins, the weather is warm enough to swim in the picture perfect lake and mingle with holiday-making locals. The winter is very beautiful too, the snow capped mountains provide the perfect backdrop for this winter wonderland.

Lake Tekapo offers a great range of activities, both in summer and winter too. So here there is no way to have nothing to do. In summer you can kayak, hike or even you can try a scenic flight, because in summer there are no flight cancelation due to the weather. We came in winter and our helicopter flight was canceled because of the snow. During winter time you can try the hot pools they have outside and watch the stars at night, or you can enjoy the snow and go for a ski session.

how to get there

We came to Lake Tekapo from Moeraki beach and it took us around 3-4 hours, because it started to snow very much, but usually you need 3 hours. If you’re coming from Christchurch is also a 3 hours drive. Now depends, because if you prefer to make stops, or to drive slower it can take longer. Either way, any drive will take you through beautiful scenery and is really enjoyable.

It snowed like crazy when we arrived at Lake Tekapo

Lake Phukaki

Another beautiful lake located between Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook is Lake Pukaki, a stunning glacier lake with an incredible blue water even in winter. On a clear day, you have magnificent views of Mount Cook summit, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. But even on a cloudy day, when Aoraki (Mt. Cook) is not visible, the lake remains beautiful with fascinating colours.

Lake Pukaki makes for a great stop before visiting Lake Tekapo. The best place to see Lake Pukaki is on the road between Twizel and Mount Cook. The road between lakes is very beautiful and it has so much to see. If you are not in hurry, this is a great place to explore more of the beauty of New Zealand. Also make sure to stop at Peter’s Lookout, it’s well signed and is one of the top spots for seeing Lake Pukaki from above.

New Zealand roads

The road from Lake Pukaki to Mt. Cook is as scenic as it comes and one of the most photographed locations of Mt. Cook. Many travellers take their time when they visit this part of New Zealand. And of course the most photographed spot is the one of Mt. Cook with the scenic road where you will be able to see Mt. Cook looming behind while the straight road goes straight to the mountain.


If you are in Christchurch try to make time to visit Akaroa, because this place is fabulous. This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, full of amazing lakes, penguins, sea lions, great mountains to hike and flowers, I was surprised to see how many flowers are in an area that’s so cold. It was amazing!!

The drive from Christchurch to Akaroa is worth it in itself, as you wind through the stunning countryside and over mountains to reach the Banks Peninsula. The place is super green, even in winter, the lakes have this insane blue colour and off course, the sheep.. they’re so many and so cute.

pay a visit to the Pohatu penguins

I´m pretty sure that almost everybody wants to see penguins in their natural habitat. For us who love and care about animals so much, seeing animals free and happy is the best thing in the world. So we booked right away a tour to see penguins at sunset.

Penguins in New Zealand (like most of animals) are very protected and there are many programs dedicated to them. On this monitoring programme we learned so much about white flippered penguins (eudyptula minor albosignata) which are the local Canterbury variant of the Australasian little penguin. We´ve seen them super close and I have to say that it is quite an experience! I don’t have photos to share, but I made some videos and if you are curious to see, you can find them on my instagram New Zealand highlights.

Or, if you’d prefer to see the Pohatu penguins along with dolphins, seals and seabirds from the water, then you should book a kayak tour. They will take you to the right spots, where the penguins and dolphins spend most of their time.

Mary had a lamb

sheep farm

In our penguin tour, we had included this little visit to see sheep and lambs and oh my, how adorable they are!The farm is owned by this family who has bought a huge land where they host also the penguins and sea lions. It seems that this was a great way to protect them, to make the area private. This family has been in the ownership of this place for several generations and runs several thousand sheep, also the penguins.

Seep, sheep and more sheep

alpaca farms

I was surprised to see how many alpaca farms are there in New Zealand. You can book a tour if you want to spend a few hours with this adorable beings. At any tour, you will interact with them, feed them, learn things about them and have lots of laughs.

thoughts about New Zealand

The only thing I regret about New Zealand is that I couldn’t spend more time, but I’m already planning another visit, to explore more. There’s no doubt that this country has so much to do and see, here you can live unique experiences and a lot of peace. It’s one of the most peaceful place I’ve ever been to.

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