Let our experienced guides take you on a great adventure!
Enjoy the views over the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo
A fun day out in the snow for all ages
A great option to try sbowshoeing, without a big commitment
Heli-assisted snowshoe hikes
Lodge based day tours on the peaks and ranges around Lake Tekapo
NEW THIS SEASON! Heli-snowshoe hikes for those wanting to be based out of Lake Tekapo, but still get into the mountains for a fun winter adventure.
You may be holidaying with family in Tekapo or haven’t got the time for the walk into our huts. Or maybe you simply prefer staying in a comfortable holiday home or hotel rather than a backcountry hut. Here is the snowshoeing trip for you!
The mountain ranges surrounding Lake Tekapo offer grand views across the Mackenzie Basin and of the major peaks of the Main Divide, including Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. By using a combination of 4WD and helicopter access, this trip will take you further into the alpine zone into the "wild heart" of these ranges, normally only visited by hunters.
Our trips can cater to first-time snowshoers as well as to experienced groups. It is a popluar option for families.
Our Heli-assisted Snowshoe Hikes are available as 2 day or 4 day options based from our own Edelweiss Lodge in Lake Tekapo Township. Each day we either take you to a skifield via 4WD or we use a helicopter to get dropped in a remote and normally inaccessible location to start our snowshoe exploration. You'll explore the mountain ranges east and west of Lake Tekapo during the day, returning to the comforts of Lake Tekapo every evening.
Here is the recipe for a great backcountry holiday - relax with a soak in the hot pools or enjoy a stargazing tour after an exhilarating snowshoe trek in untouched snow! We recommend 2 days for a weekend away for "sampling" snowshoeing, and 4 days for those looking for a refreshing break combining the comfort of the township and its attractions with active visits in the surrounding alpine environment.
Value & flexibilty
All trips are planned with your arrival in the evening before the first day in the snow, so no time is lost in the morning for checking gear, getting organised or waiting for participants to arrive - we like you to get maximum value and enjoy full days out in the mountains! Trips are designed to be flexible with our changeable New Zealand weather in mind. The base trip cost is paid upfront, with helicopter flights paid extra, based on if and how much you fly (flights can be affected by weather or the group may choose to add on extra days). We also want you to offer you the most competitive flight price, as numbers and total passenger weight influences the costs. Talk to our office staff to get all the information you need on the flight cost.
|Participants||2 days||4 days||Heli cost (per day)|
|Group Booking Discounts (NZ$ per person)|
Flight costs - not included in trip price:
Heli cost will be charged after the trip, as weather may influence the number of flying days. Extra heli days can be added on request during a trip, but require buy-in from the whole group (we cannot split groups during a trip due to the unlikelihood of extra guides being available at short-notice).
- Expect a normal trip to include:
- 2 day trip: 1 flying day - add 1x heli cost to trip price
- 4 day trip: 2 flying days - add 2x heli cost to trip price
- NZMGA certified mountain/alpine trekking guide
- Department of Conservation licence fees
- Heated PRIVATE lodge accommodation (for the night before and all nights during the trip)
- One-ride pass for Mt. Dobson Ski Area
- ALL ground-based transport during trip
- ALL meals (including breakfast and dinner at lodge, picnic lunch and snacks on the mountain) for the duration of the trip
- ALL avalanche safety and snowshoeing equipment
Meals before/after the trip are NOT included. Accommodation after the trip is NOT included.
Accommodation upgrade options:
If you wish to upgrade from a shared room, Edelweiss Lodge also has a selection of private rooms available - please enquire when you book.
If you are on a holiday in Tekapo and you have your own accommodation and meals sorted, talk to our office staff as we can give you a discounted price for the trip.
+Minimum & Maximum Numbers
A minimum number of 2 participants is required to run this trip. If you end up being the only person booked on the trip, you will be offered the choice of:
- paying an additional fee of NZ for 2 days, or NZ for 4 days. Heli cost is NZ per day.
- rescheduling to another trip/date
- a full refund
The maximum number of participants per guide is 4 (although a 1:6 ratio is available for larger group bookings on request). The standard mixed/open group size is 4. The maximum private group size is 12, with 2-3 guides.
Take advantage of our group booking discounts and get a group of family and friends together. The amount of discount you will be eligible for will depend on the group size - the more people you book, the more your discount will be! If our scheduled dates don't suit your group's travel plans, please contact us as we can reschedule a trip to suit (subject to guide availability).
Please note that group bookings are not private bookings - if you wish to keep your group closed (ie. you have a private guide just for your group), a surcharge will apply. Alternatively you can book a group of 4, 8 or 12 (which will ensure there are no others in your group).
Green : Minimum reached - guaranteed departure.
Orange : Only 4 or fewer places available.
Red : No availability.
Venue: Edelweiss Lodge
↑ Edelweiss Lodge, Lake Tekapo
This modern four-bedroomed holiday home has a lovely sense of space with great mountain and lake views. Only a kilometre walk from the town centre and bus stop (we can arrange a pick-up on request), it's a pleasant stroll to a good choice of cafés and restaurants in town and about 15 minutes walk to the hot pools and spa.
For more information about the lodge and the various room options, please see the Edelweiss Lodge page.
Heli-assisted Snowshoe Hikes Fitness & Experience
You will be carrying a 3-4kg day pack, including avalanche transceiver, spare clothing and your lunch. Compared with our hut-based trips, a lower level of fitness is required as participants DO NOT need to carry an overnight pack, however a reasonable level of hiking fitness is recommended to get maximum enjoyment out of each day. Expect the equivalent of a 4-6 hour hike.
How difficult is snowshoeing?
The snow evens out the bumps and hollows of the summer terrain and makes it easy to walk over the surface without having to negotiate rocks or tree roots as you often have to do when tramping. With the addition of ski poles it makes for enjoyable walking, taking in the scenery, instead of watching where you are placing your feet.
If you enjoy bushwalking, tramping or just ordinary hiking, then you'll enjoy walking over the snow on snowshoes. You don't sink into the snow as you would with just boots on. Using snowshoes is very straightforward - it's as simple as strapping them onto your normal hiking boots, grabbing a pair of ski poles and walking!
For a more challenging option we recommend our hut-based Snowshoe Hikes at Rex Simpson Hut.
6:00pm gear check at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo. We schedule our gear check in the evening before the trip start, so we can give you a full day on the snow. A gear check and the trip overview commonly takes about 1 hour.
From Lake Tekapo township we drive to our local skifield of Mount Dobson. Access to the lifts for a "free climb" is included in the trip. For any first-time snowshoers, the ski field gives your guide the opportunity to introduce the equipment and its use in an easy to manage environment. The day is spent with short tours close to the ski area depending on your ability. Spending a day based at the ski field means that you are fully ready for the heli-accessed hikes, even if you already have some snowshoeing experience.
Experienced snowshoeing groups may of course start directly with a heli-hike day (extra cost!). In that case, the trip would start with a short shuttle to the hangar of our flying partner MacKenzie Helicopters. They are based just outside Lake Tekapo township by the military camp. Please see info below on "Second Day" for touring description.
In the early morning, we are headed out to the hangar of our flying partner MacKenzie Helicopters. After the short check-in including a heli-briefing and weighing of our load, we will be airborne to our snowshoeing destination. Within about 15 minutes flight time over the MacKenzie Basin and Lake Tekapo we get taxied to the snow. Depending on weather, avalanche conditions and your skill levels the guide picks the best start and end point for the day tour. After the helicopter departs, we are left with the solitude and sounds of only the mountains to enjoy. The rest of our day is human powered and shaped by your group only. We have a variety of terrain to choose from to suit all abilities.
Subsequent Days (for 4 day trips only):
Based at Edelweiss Lodge, you can already make the plan for the next day with your guide in the evening. We have factored in 2 heli-hike days on every 4 day trip, knowing that flexibility is key to maximise your snowshoeing time. Weather, in particular visibility and wind, will shape our plans. We are in Lake Tekapo for a reason. We can still get you out in the mountains east of the Main Divide, when the Nor-wester has shut down options in Aoraki Mount Cook - provided the wind is not too strong, we can fly, otherwise we can often still get into the backcountry from one of our local ski areas. All our snowshoeing is on non-glaciated terrain, which has been shaped by glaciers many thousand years ago.
In addition - if a day turns out to be completely miserable, our guides are all well trained avalanche professionals and they are happy to use a bad weather day for instruction.
Extra heli-hike days can be added in good weather on request.
You can get into the mountains without having to bring a lot of gear. The snowshoes and ski poles are provided, along with any other gear you may need to borrow, including boots. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
All of your equipment will be checked during the gear check at our office at the start of your trip. Any equipment you need to borrow from us will be issued by your guide.