In 1857 the first sheep farm in the Mackenzie was built on the shores of Lake Tekapo. When the lake is low the remains of the old Tekapo Station homestead can be seen on the eastern shores of the lake. A hotel was established in 1861 and a ferry was set up to cross the Tekapo River. Twenty years later construction began on the first bridge. In the 1930s work began on Tekapo power station. Construction was delayed by the event of World War Two, but the station was eventually finished in 1951.

The first settlers faced a land of harsh extremes, windblown scorching summers & bitter frozen winters that were to break many a spirit and dreams – but they persisted and the Tekapo township thrives to this day.


  • Cafes
  • ATM Machines
  • Pub / Bars
  • Petrol Stations
  • Supermarket
  • Community Hall
  • Mini Golf
  • Playground
  • Restaurants
  • Tennis Courts
  • Campgrounds
  • Fishing Supplies
  • Golf Course
  • Hairdresser
  • Gift Stores


The town of Lake Tekapo is now a thriving hub of tourism for the area. There are a multitude of activities to partake in, from helicopter landings on glaciers, or a soak in hot pools. The vivid hue of turquoise in the lake is due to 'glacial flour'. This is the result of the glaciers scraping away fine particles of rocks, which then hang suspended in the water, refracting the sunlight and giving it such a surreal colour.

The town is located in the heart of the world's fourth international dark sky reserve. At 4,300 square kilometers it is the largest reserve, and is the only one awared gold status. This means there is practicially zero light pollution. The town features low-level street lighting to help protect the unparalleled views of the night sky.