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Lake Tekapo: Traversing Turquoise Waters

Lake Tekapo: Traversing Turquoise Waters

Lake Tekapo was a highlight. Will and I capitalized on a sunny day to explore the turquoise lakes.


We stopped in a few villages along the way, including Fairlie. The town is deemed the gateway to the Mackenzie Region, but the draw for me were the local markets. Contrary to The States, the end of February is synonymous with the end of summer, so stone fruits are at their peak.


Lake Tekapo located is in the Mackenzie Basin, roughly an one and a half hour drive from both Christchurch and Queenstown. We took a day trip from Timaru, so it was only an hour and change. The color of lake itself is breathtaking, and even more spectacular with the Southern Alps as the backdrop. We packed our day packs and embarked on The Mt John Summit Circuit Track. It's a dramatically scenic loop, with the summit reaching over 3,000 ft elevation.


The walk up was through tussock hills and mixed forest. As we looked behind us, it was evident we'd be rewarded soon enough.


The Mt John Summit offers 360 degrees of distinct views, including Mistake Peak, Mt Sibbald, Mt Erebus, and Mt Chevalier. 


After a picnic lunch at the top, we were treated with an even more striking descent. 


We continued down toward Lake Tekapo and came across an impressive drop. 


Perhaps my favorite part was knowing we were nearing the shoreline. 


Once we descended further, we could really appreciate the lake's intensity. 


Lake Tekapo gets it's vivid, opaque greenish blue hue from fine rock-flour, ground by glaciers, which is dispersed in the water.


We learned the lake was intended to be used for hydropower, and the project was completed in 1953. However today, it's more notably a massive tourism draw. And understandably so. 


As we finally reached the lake's fringe, it was fascinating how the same waters we'd been chasing seemed a darker shade of blue up close.


On the way out, we drove by Lake Pukaki, which shares the same brilliance from glacier flour. Lake Pukaki is the largest of the alpine lakes in the area, the others being Lake Tekapo and Ohau. 


Although an equally stunning color, standing on the windy mountaintop, looking down on Lake Tekapo will be one of the most memorable moments in New Zealand for us. At least, thus far.

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