Stunning views over Lake Tekapo and its surrounding peaks
Fresh snow covers the Two Thumb Range - Tekapo is a spectacular place to visit year round
The Best Day Hikes & Walking Trails in Tekapo
Explore Tekapo and its stunning mountain and lake views
Welcome to Lake Tekapo!
Tekapo in the Mackenzie region of New Zealand, is a spectacular destination for star-gazing, outdoor adventures and remote wilderness experiences and is quickly emerging as one of the great adventure capitals of New Zealand. In summer, visitors come to enjoy the lakes and rivers for water sports and fishing, the mountains for hiking, trekking and mountaineering, and the local trails for mountain biking. Tekapo is a key destination for hikers on the Te Araroa Trail and is the starting point for the now famous Alps to Ocean cycle trail. Photographers come to capture the stunning vistas and enjoy a 4WD adventure up remote valleys. In winter, it is a popular destination for skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. Tekapo is also part of the International Dark Sky Reserve and has become a popular star-gazing destination due to its clear night skies and lack of light pollution.
You've likely arrived in Tekapo for an adventure and have a bit of time to spare for an afternoon hike, before a relaxing soak in the Tekapo Alpine Springs or you're keen to stretch your legs and get warmed up before taking on one of our alpine hikes and treks, mountaineering instruction courses or guided ascents, or ski and split-board tours. We've put together a list of our top day hikes in Tekapo - many of these are walking distance from Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, or just a short drive.
1. Mount John Walkway - 2-3 hours
The views of the lake and the surrounding mountains from Mt. John summit are spectacular. Start from the Tekapo Alpine Springs carpark and walk up an initially steep gravelled road until you reach the trees. The track then climbs up through larch and pine forest with a few zig-zags. The final push to the summit provides stunning views over the Mackenzie Basin and deep turquoise blue of Lake Tekapo. Enjoy a coffee and cake from the cafe at the top, while you take in 360º panoramic views. Return the same way or do a longer loop, heading north-east from the cafe, over the South Summit and along a terrace above the lake shore. This is a very popular trail during the summer months, so expect to encounter others.
2. Lake Tekapo Peninsula Walkway - 1.5 hours
A beautiful hike with wonderful views of Lake Tekapo and its surrounding peaks from the peninsula. Quieter than the Mount John Walkway, so a good alternative on a busy day. Drive along the Godley Peaks Road until you pass the Mt. John summit road. Drive another 1.5km and you will see a small carpark on your right by a block of trees. The track follows orange marker posts in a loop around the peninsula - best done in a clockwise direction.
3. Cowan's Hill Walkway - 1 hour
A nice track on its own or a good link from Tekapo township to the Tekapo Regional Park and Lagoon Trail if you're plannng on a longer walk. Great views of the lake and mountains along the way. A cluster of small tarns provide a haven for birds, including the endangered black stilt. Popular, but generally not busy. Start from the Church of the Good Shepherd and follow the eastern edge of the Tekapo River towards the Lake Tekapo Scientific Reserve.
4. Lake Alexandrina Walks - 2-3 hours
Lake Alexandrina is a small lake located just west of Lake Tekapo. You can access the southern end of the lake by driving 4km up the Godley Peaks Road and turning left onto the Lake Alexandrina South Road. You can also drive 5km further along the Godley Peaks Road until you get to the Lake Alexandrina Road, which takes you to the lake outlet and past Lake McGregor. There are multiple different walks you can do from both the southern end and the lake outlet, following the eastern shore of Lake Alexandrina. The lake is a haven for native birds, such as the Australasian Crested Grebe; in spring time the grebes like to nest amongst the willow trees at the lake outlet - if your timing is right, you might even get to see the chicks!
5. Lake McGregor Loop Walk - 1 hour
Lake McGregor is a small, but deep lake located between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Tekapo. It's a beautiful, tranquil spot, surrounded by willow trees and a haven for birds. The walk takes you in a loop around the lake. It's a popular spot for watching the sunset. Access from Lake Tekapo township is via the Lake Alexandrina Road - about 8km along the Godley Peaks Road.
6. Lagoon Trail - 2 hours
One of Tekapo's newest trails, crossing Sawdon Station, with interesting glacial rock features and a secluded tarn surrounded by willow trees. An open track with panoramic views in all directions. Walk or mountain bike following light blue markers. A good option for a shorter afternoon hike and quiet - it's unlikely you'll encounter many others. The loop starts from the top south-eastern corner of the Tekapo Regional Park.
7. Richmond Trail - 4-5 hours
The track is 13km one-way and part of the Te Araroa Trail. The Richmond travels along an old glacial terrace through tussocks and patches of native vegetation, providing stunning views of Lake Tekapo and surrounding mountains. It is a steep descent down the track near Boundary Stream to Lilybank Road. From Lake Tekapo township, drive up the Lilybank Road, along the eastern side of the lake. You can start from Boundary Creek or Roundhill Ski Area access road - unless you have arranged a pick up from one end of the track, it is recommended to start at the Boundary Creek end and walk up the hill to the terrace, then back the same way.
Ready to explore the Tekapo backcountry?
Professional guides ~ small groups ~ equipment included ~ private huts ~ exclusive access
Discover the Mackenzie high country around Lake Tekapo on one of our guided hiking tours. Alpine Recreation specialise in alpine treks and hikes and have been guiding in the mountains and valleys surrounding Lake Tekapo for over 40 years - we were the first guiding operation established in Tekapo. Our professional NZMGA qualified alpine trekking guides are passionate about what they do and will take you to the most stunning remote locations in the Mackenzie region.
Alpine Recreation complies with The Safety Audit Standard for Adventure Activities, and is certified by Adventure Mark, so you know you'll be in good hands on your adventure!
Tekapo Summer Treks & Hikes
Tekapo Winter Treks & Snowshoeing
Tags: activities in lake tekapo, godley peaks, godley peaks station, day hikes in lake tekapo, day hikes tekapo, glaciers, glenmore station, mt gerald, mt gerald station, Two Thumb Range, Gamack Range, Cass Valley, hiking guide, trekking guide, alpine trekking, guided hikes tekapo, high country, high country stations, hike mackenzie country, hike tekapo, hiking tekapo, lake pukaki, lake tekapo, mountain landscapes, mackenzie hikes, mackenzie alpine hike, mackenzie basin, mackenzie nz, southern alps, nz mountains, aoraki, mt cook, mount cook, mt john walk, mackenzie high country, best views of lake tekapo, nz guided hikes, nz hikes, private hiking tours nz, nz high country stations, nz hiking tours, star gazing, star gazing lake tekapo, tekapo, tekapo lodge accommodation, tekapo activities, tekapo adventures, tekapo hike, tekapo new zealand, tekapo nz, tekapo things to do, tekapo tours, walks in tekapo, 4wd tekapo