South Island trips

Christchurch to Dunedin via Lake Tekapo

3 Days


Christchurch to Dunedin Central


  • Lake Tekapo
  • Aoraki Mount Cook
  • Tasman Glacier

Best time of year

All year

The scenery on this route is simply mind blowing. Get ready for towering mountains, turquoise lakes and the sweetest little church you’ve ever seen - not to mention friendly, down-to-earth locals and rare wildlife. Stargazing above Lake Tekapo and taking a boat ride to see the Tasman Glacier are some of the unforgettable experiences this route offers.


The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo

Photo by Sergio Del Rosso

Day 1

Christchurch City - Lake Tekapo

2 hrs

45 mins

227 km

141 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

Start with an easy drive from Christchurch through the patchwork fields of the Canterbury Plains. In less than an hour you’ll cross the Rakaia River at the gorge bridge.
Detour 10 minutes into Methven, a ski town in winter and a café haven during summer. Enjoy some of the many local activities like mountain biking, scenic flights, golf or hunting and fishing. From here, drive on to beautiful Lake Tekapo

With its stunning turquoise water, Lake Tekapo offers a magnificent spectacle and is a year-round destination. There are so many ways to enjoy this part of the country – hiking, fishing or relaxing in hot pools while gazing at the lake.

While you're here, don't miss heading to the top of Mt John for 360 degree panoramic views.  The sheer grandeur of the place truly comes alive at night with clear skies and remarkably dark nights, making Lake Tekapo a stargazer's dream. 

Explore the surrounds of Christchurch, Canterbury.

Start in Christchurch

Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. As the gateway to the South Island, it's a must on any itinerary.

Lake Tekapo

End in Lake Tekapo

In the Mackenzie Basin, Lake Tekapo township faces north across the remarkable turquoise coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps.

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