Gorgeous Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo

Sunset, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand are two of the most beautiful, special places we’ve been… anywhere… ever. Read on to learn how to walk the Kea Point track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and what to do in Lake Tekapo.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

We drove to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park from Twizel for a morning hike. Upon arrival to the area, we were confronted with clouds. Driving along Lake Pukaki, we couldn’t see any mountains around us.
Lake Pukaki, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

We parked in the White Horse Hill Campsite, which is the best place to enter for a few of the area’s most popular walks. We had heard the hike to Kea Point offered fabulous views, but was short enough and moderate enough for Sarah to do without being completely wiped afterwards.

We couldn’t see much as we walked along the trail, and when we got to the viewpoint, all we could see was cloud and fog. It was a whiteout.
Kea Point, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

We laughed a bit at our lack of luck and sat down to rest. And then it started to clear. Little by little, more and more, we could see mountains and glaciers and we were in awe.
Kea Point, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Kea Point, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Kea Point, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

On the return hike, we were giddy seeing all the beautiful scenery we hadn’t seen on the way up.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Kea Point track, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

And by the time we got back to the car park we were astonished. Sarah spent the entire drive back down Lake Pukaki turned around in her seat staring at and taking pictures of the majestic scenery behind us.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a super small town on a pretty big lake. It’s a tourist destination because it has a pretty church on a hill (the Church of the Good Shepherd) and a statue of a dog (the Mackenzie Sheepdog) and because it has some of the clearest viewing of the night sky in the area. The drive from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Lake Tekapo took about an hour and a half.

We spent two nights at The Chalet – a wonderful self-catering place owned by two Swiss Kiwis. It was pricey, but we were in heaven and thought it was worth every penny. We had views right out on the lake, which we stared at all day. We could also hop out onto our terrace at night and stare up at the incredible stars. During our two days in Lake Tekapo, we took walks around the lake and on its rocky shore and across the bridge and took pictures of the church and the dog and looked out at the lake and up at the stars and life was pretty perfect.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo bridge, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Mackenzie Sheepdog Statue, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Sunset, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Sunset, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Sunset, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

But all good things must come to an end. And this trip sadly was. Our next drive would be to our last stop… Christchurch.

We traveled in New Zealand for almost a month! Read our full New Zealand itinerary here.

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12 Replies to “Gorgeous Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo”

  1. Was supposed to try to head to Tekapo this month to catch the lights. Unfortunately a cyst rupture prevented that from happening! Glad to see you enjoyed it!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      You should definitely try to make the trip when you’re feeling better. It was one of our favorite places in the whole world. So peaceful and beautiful.

  2. Aww man, I so want to visit New Zealand! Every time I see photos or read about it, it just makes me want to visit so much more. I love nature and walking etc, and I know how outdoorsy you can be out there… *sigh* – one day I hope! I love your photos by the way!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Thanks for the kind words. If you love nature and walking NZ is for you indeed! Hopefully some day you’ll get there 🙂 It was a bucket list destination for me!

  3. Great post, Sarah! Your photos look like a LOTR scenery, such a gorgeous place! Do you think one month is enough to visit both islands?

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      It’s enough and it’s not enough… it felt like you could spend years there and not get to explore everything you’d want. But for what we wanted to accomplish and see this trip, I think the month was enough. Plus it’s a bit on the pricey side if you’re not camping. But it’s incredible! Would go back in a heartbeat any day!

  4. What an absolutely beautiful post and location! I hope I get to visit there one day! <3 Am slowly planning a trip to NZ, so this has definitely made it to the short-list! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      If you go to NZ please please please get to Lake Tekapo! It’s the most beautiful relaxing peaceful place I’ve ever been.

  5. shesatripblog says: Reply

    I might be going to New Zeland later this year since I’ll already be on that side of the world visting Australia. I’ll have to check this out.

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      If you’re kinda sorta close (like in certain parts of Australia) definitely go! It’s incredible.

  6. Ah, I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand! Those mountains are just magical. <3 The views actually remind me a tiny bit of Slovenia–I guess that will have to do until I'm ready to fly all the way to New Zealand!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Slovenia was pretty magical, but NZ is on a whole other level. If you can make it there, definitely do!

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