Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury Plains.
Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing into through Fairlie.
Ascending Burkes pass you’ll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand’s tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue
Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Choose to view the Mt Cook National Park by a ski plane, or land on one of the glaciers in a helicopter.
Find your sense of adventure and Kayak on a glacial lake or test your legs on one of the many walking tracks in and around the village.
Before leaving, a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre is a must do. Lake Tekapo is New Zealand’s highest lake and it’s turquoise colour astounds visitors. The unusual colour of the water comes from fine rock particles suspended in the glacier fed waters reflecting the light.
One of the most popular – and most photographed – landmarks in the region is
the Church of the Good Shepherd. This iconic stone building was dedicated in 1935 and utilises part of the wood from the demolished Tekapo bridge.
Nearby a statue of a Bronze Sheepdog pays tribute to the strong contribution these animals have made to the farming
West of Lake Tekapo is Mt John, and it’s here you will find the Canterbury University Observatory.
Driving to the summit of this mountain is well worth the soaring views you’ll get from the top.
Drive a little further towards Lake Alexandrina, a wildlife reserve
home to many birds.
No motorised craft are allowed on the water, making for a very peaceful visit. For a different view of this stunning landscape, catch a scenic flight over Mt Cook National Park and the West Coast Glaciers – Fox and Franz Josef.
Just a 1-1.5 hour drive from Tekapo, Mt. Cook National Park is a rugged and beautiful environment encompassing 19 peaks, the tallest of them being Aoraki Mt Cook
– New Zealand’s highest mountain. Standing 3754 metres tall the Mt Cook can be seen from the southern end of Lake Pukaki.
For those wanting a unique experience, catch a ski plane over the park, and land on the 15 kilometre long Tasman glacier.
Stretch your legs on on of the many short walks around the area, and relax over dinner in the Mt Cook Village.
Be sure to stop in at the new Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, showcasing the region’s contribution to pioneering the sport of mountain climbing.
Big Sky Stargazing – Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand – perfect for viewing the night sky!
Their fully trained guides are delighted to show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favourable then ‘live’ under the high definition digital dome planetarium.
Unleash your imagination as you discover the night sky including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way!
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours