Coronavirus Update

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo

Discover New Zealand's tallest peak in Mt Cook and view the Southern Lights at spectacular turquoise Lake Tekapo.

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo are highlights of New Zealand’s South Island. Mt Cook (Aoraki), the tallest mountain in New Zealand, helped Sir Edmund Hillary develop his climbing skills in preparation for the conquest of Everest. Mountaineers regard the area to be the best climbing region in Australasia, while less skilled adventurers find plenty of satisfaction with the mountain walks that lead to alpine tarns, herb fields and spectacular glacier views. Encounters with cheeky kea (mountain parrots) are part of the fun.


Lake Tekapo is one of the best places in New Zealand to see this symphony of colour come to life. Best seen between April and September, Lake Tekapo is known for its clear nights and lack of light pollution, making it a great viewing destination. Head to Mount John Observatory – perched high in the mountains and south-facing – for your best chance of experiencing this spectacular natural light show.

According to Ngāi Tahu legend, Aoraki and his three brothers were the sons of Rakinui, the Sky Father. While on a sea voyage, their canoe overturned on a reef. When the brothers climbed on top of their canoe, the freezing south wind turned them to stone. The canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki); Aoraki and his brothers became the peaks of the Southern Alps.

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. Lake Tekapo is about three hours drive south-west of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin. The township faces north across the remarkable turquoise coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise colour from the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) which is suspended in the water.


Classic South Island
Classic South Island

Get ready to see the most spectacular scenery New Zealand has to offer, on this 12 day exploration of the…

Duration: 12 Days
Departs Daily
Ultimate South Island Escape
On Sale
Ultimate South Island Escape

Experience the beauty of New Zealand's South Island at a relaxed pace on this fully escorted small group tour which…

Duration: 10 Days
Next Departure Date: 01 Sep 2020
Latin America, Africa & Polar Main Site