Lake Tekapo was the sixth stop on our South Island leg of the road trip. We left Wanaka — also insanely beautiful, like everything in NZ — and drove to the little town by the lake with the beautiful waterside church. We were tired, and we literally went 50km in the wrong direction from a petrol station and ended up going back the way we had come…and further away from Tekapo. I have no idea how it took us so long to catch on to the fact that we were going the wrong way, or why we weren’t taking directions from the GPS like we had up until that point (Maybe we got cocky? Maybe it died? I can’t remember).
By the time that we got over our fit of laughter at our idiocy, and actually got to the town, we were in disbelief. The water is the most tranquil, turquoise colour that you can imagine. The photos do not do it justice — even GoPro captures fall short somehow. Lake Tekapo is picturesque, and it is also one of the places in NZ that is most famous for clear and bright sightings of the incredible Aurora Australis.
Unfortunately, we did not see them, but I intend to go back so maybe next time. You can book a night at St John’s observatory on the mountainside which is supposed to be incredible. There are hot springs next to the lake, and a little church that is infamous on social media for being one of the most picture-perfect places for couples to get married, or even just get tourist shots next to when you’re traveling through.
One of my favourite memories is driving around the lake off the beaten path to end up parking our car on a little lakeside, wedged in between snowcapped mountains and the turquoise lake. We watched the sun set over the snowy mountains and hoped to see the Aurora Australis if we stayed as long as we could. We didn’t, but it is still one of my favourite memories. We eventually drove back to our villa and made cookies with a view of the ice caps from our balcony.