Starry Nights & Blue Waters at Lake Tekapo
Starry nights & blue waters at Lake Tekapo… with a side trip to Mt. Cook! New Zealand’s tallest peak is just an hour’s drive from Lake Tekapo, so after working in the morning at Lake Tekapo Luxury Lodge, we hopped in the car for a drive, then took to foot to grab these pictures.
In all honesty, as beautiful as it is, I found Mt. Cook rather underwhelming from our vantage point. I’m sure it’s just because it’s surrounded by other mountains, but I found Mt. Taranaki much more impressive in the way of tall mountains/volcanoes. But it was a worthy trip at any rate!
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think I will ever get over the intense blues, aquas, & turquoises of the ocean in New Zealand (like at Ocean Beach in Northland or Nugget Point in Southland). Lake Tekapo is just as beautifully blue, but in a completely different way.
The lake was formed by a glacier carving out space in the earth many years ago. The milky blue color is due to what’s known as rock flour. It’s basically sediment left over from glacial movement floating around in the water.
We had a fantastic view of the lake from the top of Mt. John. We opted to drive to the top instead of walk the 3 hour trail so we would have more time to explore. After basking in the sun and taking in these great views, we headed down to the Church of the Good Shepherd: probably the most photographed church in all of New Zealand! The church still holds services in the building on Sundays. We arrived on a Tuesday and left on Saturday, so unfortunately we weren’t able to check it out.
Lake Tekapo (and the McKenzie district in general) is known for it’s clear, starry night skies since it’s so far from anything resembling a big city. There is an observatory on top of Mt. John, but the $80 per person guided tour of the night sky wasn’t in our budget. Especially not when we could take a blanket into the yard and soak up the stars ourselves.
We layered up and drove back to the church as well. We didn’t get the shot we really wanted, but we also don’t have a ton of equipment with us (plus we were afraid the headlights on our car would drain our battery before we were finished experimenting!)
Check out more pictures of our experience on Facebook!