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LAKE TEKAPO & MT. COOK

MACKENZIE COUNTRY ACCOMMODATIONS

 

TEKAPO HOUSE

LAKE TEKAPO, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

          The small town of Lake Tekapo boasts the biggest, starriest night sky in New Zealand. It also claims one of the prettiest lakes among many candidates on the South Island. Despite its small size (population 300) Lake Tekapo town has several restaurants. Best of all, it has Tekapo House Bed & Breakfast, providing guests with a comfortable lodging, an excellent breakfast, a friendly welcome, and a fine view of the lake.

PHOTO © HOME AT FIRST

 

Lake Tekapo town and lake seen at the foot of Mt. John, location of one of the premier astronomical observatories in the Southern Hemisphere. Photo © Home At First.
Lake Tekapo town straddles the Tekapo Canal at its ext from turquoise Lake Tekapo in this photo shot from
atop Mt. John, site of several observatories that study the world-class night skies above Mackenzie Country.

Photo © Home At First

 

Tekapo House overlooks both Lake Tekapos: the small town and the great lake. Photo © Home At First.
The balconies of Tekapo House
overlook both Lake Tekapos:
the small town and its the great lake.

Photo © Home At First

THE LOCATION: Home At First guests are surprised at the stark beauty of Mackenzie Country with its great mountains, turquoise glacial lakes, and seemingly endless miles of arid pasture land. Visitors are also surprised at how few and far between are any pockets of civilization. The small town of Lake Tekapo is one of only a handful of towns found in the region, and, despite having only about 300 permanent residents, Lake Tekapo is a major population center in this, the remote outback of New Zealand. Happily, Lake Tekapo town is midway between Queenstown and Christchurch — about 3 hours drive from each — and about 75 minutes drive southeast of Mt. Cook. Many travelers attempt to cover Mackenzie Country by passing through without stopping. They see a fair amount, but experience

 

little of the extraordinary beauty that comes to

this region at sun-up, sundown, and at

 

night. Such is the amazing blanket of stars over Lake Tekapo that the town and region have been designated as the world's third "dark sky reserves" for nearly unrivaled stargazing. Moreover, those only hurrying through on the main Route 8 miss the chance to walk in the Hooker Valley at the foot of the great monolith of Mt. Cook, miss the climb up Mt. John for sunrise on the Southern Alps, miss the opportunity to catch a record trout from a pristine, glacial fed mountain stream, miss the sense of loneliness one gets when following a single-

Second floor bedroom with balcony view of Lake Tekapo. Tekapo House photo.
Second floor bedroom with
balcony view of Lake Tekapo

track road deep into a side valley of

 

 

Mackenzie Country across tens of thousands

A simple stone chapel called The Church of the Good Shepherd watches over its flock at Lake Tekapo. Photo © Home At First.
A simple stone chapel called The Church 
of the Good Shepherd watches over
its flock at Lake Tekapo.

Photo © Home At First

of acres of a one-family sheep station.
          In short, staying at least one night in Mackenzie Country — in the virtual center of New Zealand's South Island — puts visitors in touch with some of the primal characteristics of New Zealand: the stark, lonely beauty of the vast, remote high plains and alpine valleys of the eastern rain shadow of the Southern Alps. To know this place permits a glimpse of the mindset necessary for all New Zealanders to justify making their homes in a land far away from the rest of the world.

 

 

 

Good days in Mackenzie Country start with a delightful breakfast at Tekapo House. Tekapo House photo.
Good days in Mackenzie Country
start with a delightful breakfast
at Tekapo House.

Photo © Home At First
 

THE ACCOMMODATIONS: Tekapo House is a small, personal, family-operated bed and breakfast. It offers three guest rooms: two with queen-sized double beds and private bathrooms, and one with twin beds and ensuite bathroom. A large guest lounge (TV, games, overstuffed chairs and sofas) opens onto a large verandah with expansive views
of the town, the lake, and the mountains. A delicious breakfast is served each morning at the communal breakfast table to the buzz of lively conversation among guests from around the world. Tekapo House is set back from a quiet street in a quiet, residential development a two-minute drive from the Lake Tekapo town center. Tekapo House provides private, off-street guest parking.

 

 

Catch of the Day: a fair-sized trout taken near Lake Tekapo. Tekapo House photo.
Catch of the Day

THE HOSTING: The owner/hosts at Tekapo House, Grant and Rosemary, are unabashedly proud of their home region, Mackenzie Country, and are eager that their guests experience some of the best the region has to offer during their short visits. Rosemary oversees the operations at Tekapo House including seeing to the production of a delicious breakfast each morning.

          Grant often joins guests for evening discussions in the lounge, and, if the topic turns to outdoor recreation — especially fishing — Grant has been known to lead the discussion with stories of personal adventures in pursuit of record trout in nearby streams. Grant's passion for fishing is one reason that he has settled and raised his family in Mackenzie Country. He has been a licensed fishing guide, and can provide advice to guests interested in fishing the region's back country rivers and streams.

Grant and Rosemary, friendly, welcoming, owner/hosts at Tekapo House. Photo © Home At First.
Grant & Rosemary
Photo © Home At First

 

 

Statue of the iconic hero of Mackenzie Country: the sheep dog. The bronze statue is on the lake front, Lake Tekapo. Photo © Home At First.
Statue of the iconic hero of Mackenzie
Country: the sheep dog. The bronze statue
is on the lake front, Lake Tekapo.

Photo © Home At First

ACTIVITIES: In addition to fishing and exploring the Mackenzie Country region by car, visitors enjoy walking any of the several trails starting from the town of Lake Tekapo, leading along the lake shore, and traversing the slopes of Mt. John. Hikers looking for alpine walking will find it in the Hooker Valley at the foot of Mt. Cook. Scenic flights into the Southern Alps are available from Lake Tekapo's airport. Amazing clear sky stargazing — among the best in the Southern Hemisphere — is easy and from the observatories at Mt. John just above Lake Tekapo. Also available close by are organized

 

horse treks, mountain bike adventures, and

whitewater kayaking. Shoppers and eaters will find the stores and restaurants of Lake Tekapo worth visiting, too.

 

 

AVAILABILITY: For current availability information, call Home At First at (800) 523-5842, or contact us by e-mail at: info@homeatfirst.com.

 

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