Family Friendly Activities Around Lake Tekapo

Lake Takapō / Tekapo is a natural paradise in the middle of the South Island. Three hours from Christchurch in your Dollar rental car, the township and lake offer activities for all ages to enjoy. Aside from its scenic beauty, Lake Tekapo is also renowned as a popular fishing spot for large brown trout and rainbow trout. Experience everything the lake offers with a family holiday here. 

Lake Tekapo Peninsula Walkway
Lake Tekapo

If you’re visiting Lake Tekapo, prepare to be amazed by stunning views of beautiful turquoise waters backdropped by the magnificent Southern Alps. Part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo and its surrounding areas are an ideal destination for stargazing at night. In spring and summer, pink and purple Lupins bloom, giving visitors a beautiful sight to capture and wander through. With stunning scenery in all the colours of the rainbow, bring your camera along to take photos for the family album and capture unforgettable memories. Make the most out of your time at the lake with a walk around the Lake Tekapo Peninsula Walkway. This family-friendly loop trail is easy to follow and showcases the beautiful landscape of the area - see if you can spot the native water birds that frequent the lake, including the black swan, scaup and pied stilt. After exploring the lake, make your way to the grassy waterfront. Here, there is a playground with flying foxes, slides and swings to keep the children entertained, and with The Greedy Cow Cafe nearby, adults can sit down with a coffee while the kids play.

Aqua Drop Water Slide
Tekapo Springs

All that adventuring around Lake Tekapo calls for a day of relaxation and recreation, and Tekapo Springs is just the place to do so. From family activities to wellness treatments, Tekapo Springs is an aquatic oasis just ten minutes from town in your Dollar rental car. Jump into fun with family activities here. Kids will love teeing off at the adventure mini golf and splashing around in the aqua play area, while adults relax in the hot pools, swim in the plunge pools and decompress in the steam rooms and saunas. Visiting Lake Tekapo in winter? The Snow Tube park is open during the colder months, with snow play areas and an ice skating rink offering fun for everyone, while the Aqua Drop Water Slide is open during the summer, giving you and the family a variety of experiences no matter what time of the year you visit. Tekapo Springs also gives visitors the unique opportunity to embark on a stargazing experience like no other with a guided tour of the night sky which ends with a late-night soak under the stars afloat a hammock in the hot pools. The perfect combination of fun activities and relaxation, a visit to Tekapo Springs is a must when travelling around Lake Tekapo with family.

Aoraki Mackenzie Region
Dark Sky Project

Experience the beauty of Takapō’s night sky with a visit to the Dark Sky Project - the world’s largest gold standard International Dark Sky Reserve. Awarded this title for its clear night sky, you’ll see an amazing canopy of stars when visiting the Dark Sky Project in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. There are five experiences here, each showcasing the brilliance of the area’s night sky. The Summit Experience takes place atop Mount John’s 1,029-metre peak where you’ll look through a high-powered telescope to see planets, constellations and the Milky Way. The Crater Experience explores the sky from purpose-built observational craters, and if it’s a cloudy night, discover the sky in a new way at the Dark Sky Experience. This indoor virtual star-gazing experience delves into space-rendering technology, with the stars on a large screen in front of you - perfect for young children and families. There is also lakefront dining available at the Dark Sky Diner, or grab a bite with a view at the daytime Astro Cafe. 

The Church of the Good Shepherd

When staying in Lake Tekapo, a visit to one of the area’s most visited and photographed attractions is a must for kids and adults alike. The Church of the Good Shepherd is not only a place of worship but also a beautifully constructed church, offering scenic views and excellent photo opportunities. To get here, take a short stroll over the Maclaren Footbridge, where you can take in the stunning scenery and snap a photo or two for the family album. Once you arrive, it’s hard to miss the standout stone chapel, which many tourists and locals love to visit. Guided tours of the church are highly recommended, as you’ll get to see inside the rustic building and learn about its historical significance. A visit to the Church offers scenic beauty like no other and a memorable experience for the family to look back on. Outside the Church, you’ll also find the bronze Sheepdog memorial statue which honours the Border Collies that helped farm the high country in the 1900s. 

Lake Tekapo and the surrounding township offer a blend of fun family activities and moments of relaxation for a holiday that’ll keep the family entertained. Looking to venture further out? Go tramping in the Takapō Regional Park, learn to ski at the Roundhill Ski Area or go horse riding at Mackenzie Alpine Trekking. Whichever way you choose to explore the area, choose Dollar to accommodate the whole family. 

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