Lake Tekapo's popularity is well deserved: the town faces out across the remarkable turquoise lake to a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Such splendid Mackenzie Country and Southern Alps views are reason enough to linger, but there's infinitely more to see if you wait till dark. In 2012 the Aoraki Mackenzie area was declared an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of only five in the world, and Tekapo's Mt John – under pollution-free skies – is the ultimate place to experience the region’s glorious night sky.
For about 4-5 weeks at the end of each year, the centre of New Zealand’s South Island bursts into colour — purples and pinks and blues and yellows sprout up along lake-sides and in riverbeds in Mackenzie Country, making the already-stunning views even more incredible. The lupins at Lake Tekapo are best in late November, while the flowers hit full bloom a little later the further south you go.
On the shore on the lake you'll see the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd. The church is arguably one of the most photographed in New Zealand, and features an altar window that frames stunning views of the lake and mountains.
There are walking tracks following the lake-shore. For huge views of the Mackenzie Basin you can hike up to Mount John Observatory (1031 metres) or Cowans Hill.