Winter weekend in Tekapo

Exploring the snow and hot springs of Lake Tekapo.

I knew what I wanted to do: explore Lake Tekapo's ski fields. And I also knew the how I wanted to decompress after a day on the slopes -- by soaking in the hot springs and enjoying a nice meal out.

Roundhill Ski Area

I’m not yet one of those elite who can really “shred” the slopes of a mountain at a screaming fast pace and “carve” hard and low, slicing snow, ripping pow apart. I’m more of an energetic, goofy footer who loves the mountains, the snow and the joy of being active. Oh, and throw in some wicked views and even wickeder snowboarding lessons, then I’m all go!

Roundhill is an easy (though mostly shingle) 20 – 30 minute drive from Tekapo Village. The wide, gentle slopes were just what I was after so I could gain confidence and more experience snowboarding. For those who really can shred and carve, Roundhill has the largest vertical rise in New Zealand and a collection of features including kickers, tables, boxes, rails, rollers, jumps and platforms.

And for both the beginners and the advanced snow bunnies? The breath-taking views across the Southern Alps will never disappoint. Wow.

I spent the morning getting my footing, enjoying the movement and the satisfying swish swish of my rails. I took a lesson in the afternoon.

Dom, my instructor, is a powder junkie, following the freshies from New Zealand’s winter to Canada’s winter year after year. His tuition was flawless. In the couple of hours I spent with him, I gained more control, confidence, and I even caught air on my first ever two jumps. I even managed to conquer slopes I’d looked at with trepidation in the morning.

Great ski field + great tuition = less fear < fun.


Tekapo Springs

I wasn’t quite finished with adventure after my session at Roundhill. I headed out to Tekapo Springs Hot Pools for a quick speed fix at their Tube Park where I promptly flew downhill 150m, taking on curves and corners and snowy slopes on a tube. What fun! I then laced up for a quick round of ice skating before stripping down to my swim costume and soaking my protesting muscles (from both snowboarding and wiping out) in each of the three hot pools, ranging from 40 degrees Celsius to 36. What a picturesque way to unwind after a day on the slopes, soaking in the alpine springs hot pools surrounded by Radiata and Douglas fir trees while overlooking Lake Tekapo and the Two Thumb mountain range.


Kohan Japanese Restaurant

I’d eaten at Kohan’s once before a few years ago and never stopped dreaming of their Bento boxes. For my weekend in Tekapo, I knew where I wanted to eat – one of the culinary highlights of Lake Tekapo. I recommend the bento boxes for a range of deliciousness and the homemade ice cream. Fig or Green Tea ice cream, anyone? And, of course, the views over the lake can’t be beat.


YHA Lake Tekpo

The best place to kick up my feet at the end of all these adventuers was YHA Lake Tekapo, located right on the lakefront with unobstructed views to the lake and the mountains beyond.

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