Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.
It is located in the centre of the South Island of New Zealand about three hours’ drive south-west of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin.
This highland lake and settlement at 710 metres (2300 feet) is in the heart of the Mackenzie District and surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock grass. The name Tekapo derives from the native people of New Zealand the Māori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night). Finely ground rock in the glacial melted waters give Lake Tekapo a beautifully unique turquoise colour.
I had an absolutely amazing trip down here on the motorbike a few years back – my first time visiting this awe inspiring region.
The landscape is beyond compare – from the gorgeous colourful display of wild lupins growing along the highways to the magnificent turquoise colours of the lakes to the rugged snow-capped mountains towering above you.
But most precious of all was the experience I had once the sun went down and night fell, the night’s sky is so unbelievably clear I was able to see millions upon millions of stars, the Southern Cross, the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies and even the Southern Lights.
Tekapo has one of the clearest and darkest skies in the world for stargazing and New Zealand’s largest telescope sits on top of Mt John at the Earth and Sky Observatory.