New Zealand | Lake Tekapo


New-Zealand-South-Island-60.jpgNew-Zealand-South-Island-60.jpg

new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoOur second-favorite place of our New Zealand campervan adventure — and arguably of our entire R&R to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore — was Lake Tekapo. We spent our second night freedom camping at Lake Tekapo (and first night freedom camping on the South Island) and also enjoyed a beautiful three-hour hike along the White Bluffs of Lake Tekapo.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoLake Tekapo gets its beautiful turquoise color from alpine “rock flour,” powder made by melting glaciers as they travel down the mountain slopes, which remains suspended in the lake water. I’ve never seen such an intense natural blue color before.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoI don’t think I need to explain why Lake Tekapo was one of our favorite places we visited. I mean, just look at these photos. They barely do justice to the beauty of the super-blue waters, framed by the snow-covered Southern Alps on one side and snow-dusted rolling hills on the other.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoWe arrived to our freedom camping spot on the lakeshore just before dark, allowing us enough time to set up camp and take some photos before it was completely pitch black. And it does get totally dark. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, and at night you can see more stars in the sky than I even knew existed.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoNearby Mt. John Observatory offers nighttime stargazing tours. We didn’t participate in a tour, but we did stop by the observatory and cafe on our way out of town the following morning after our hike.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoWe were the only campervan at our lakeside freedom camping spot. After a nice dinner of steak and salad (accompanied by some of our Cloudy Bay wine), we went to sleep and awoke to a snow-dusted landscape. It wasn’t enough to break out the snow chains or really affect our driving, but we decided to make a call to the highway weather conditions number before we hit the road later in the morning.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoOur NZ Frenzy guidebook had a couple suggested attractions and hikes nearby to our freedom camping spot. We decided to check out the White Bluffs of Lake Tekapo, a roughly two-hour loop along rolling hills and dramatic cliffs framing the stunning lake. It was only a short drive from our campsite, and we arrived in time to see the sun rising over the Southern Alps.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapoWe had a little bit of trouble finding the proper beginning to the track. The GPS coordinates for the track start took us to a little gravel parking lot. The track started immediately to the left of the parking lot, but its opening was obscured by tall grass and snow. So we ended up heading in the wrong direction and wandering around for about 45 minutes, climbing up and down pretty steep, snowy hills, before we figured out where exactly we were supposed to be.new zealand, south island, lake tekapo, hiking, freedom camping, white bluffs of lake tekapo, sheepWe didn’t mind the extra walking — our total hike ended up lasting about three hours — and once we found the trail it was very well marked with orange flags along the way. We were the only hikers there, and could enjoy the beautiful mountain-framed lake vista by ourselves. We saw tons of cottontail rabbits hopping around, and we also encountered a large herd of sheep grazing among the hills.Our guidebook said the White Bluffs of Lake Tekapo is a little-known track, but I imagine it won’t stay that way for long. I think most tourists end up going to the observatory and doing organized tours from there, but nothing beats the serene experience of being out in a vast expanse of beautiful land, all by yourself (with your spouse).Have you ever gone stargazing?The Details: Lake Tekapo Freedom CampingGPS Coordinates: -43.934361, 170.483744Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/2dzEzThe Details: White Bluffs of Lake TekapoGPS Coordinates: -43.961416, 170.479643Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/IraEwHike: Easy to moderate two-hour loopSee more photos from New Zealand’s South Island.

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

One thought on “New Zealand | Lake Tekapo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: