Without a doubt, Lake Tekapo is one of those unique places that just kind of takes your breath away. The jagged edges of the mountains, snowcapped, jutting from the earth. An abundance of wildflowers dotting the shoreline and golden sunshine bursting through during summer. The brilliant blue waters of the Lake, a friendly, welcoming vibe and the feeling that the whole world is a million miles away, Lake Tekapo is a truly magical place and one I look forward to visiting time and time again. If you’re thinking about visiting but aren’t sure where to stay, here’s my tip on the best place to stay in Lake Tekapo.
Where the heck is it?
You’ll find Peppers Bluewater Resort in the heart of one of my favourite places in New Zealand, Lake Tekapo. This gorgeous area is the perfect mid-way point between Christchurch and Queenstown, making it an ideal spot to stay for a few nights and break up your road trip or as a must-see destination all of its own. I absolutely love this area and I’m sure you’ll easily be able to see why when you peep some of the stunning photos of the area. It’s a nice quiet little spot, surrounded by absolutely gorgeous mountains that create an unimaginably beautiful backdrop for your getaway. Low-key, with just enough to do, it’s an ideal location for those looking to relax, unwind, recharge and just escape it all.
How do I get there?
We flew into Christchurch from Brisbane, got in a hire car and drove down to Lake Tekapo. (I wrote a detailed guide on how to drive from Christchurch to Queenstown, which includes instructions on getting to Tekapo) The drive takes around 3 hours and, if you’ve got the time, you can stop along the way to visit the Cookie Time Factory, snap photos and visit a few local stores and eateries that take your fancy. Similarly, you could also fly into Queenstown and drive up to Lake Tekapo, also a 3-hour drive. Either way, the drive will take you through beautiful scenery and is really enjoyable. If you’re visiting in winter be sure to take care on the roads, drive safely, stay alert and not be in too much of a rush to get where you’re headed. You may also need to look into carrying snow chains.
What are the rooms like?
We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment and absolutely loved the huge amount of space we had. Travelling as a small group of three, the apartment was the perfect size for us all to have our own space but still be able to hang out and spend time together without feeling overcrowded.
Split over two levels, the two bedrooms, washer/dryer and one bathroom were located downstairs. The bedrooms were really comfortable with enough space to unpack your luggage and still move around the room. The beds were large and comfortable, ensuring we all got a great night’s sleep after a big day of adventures. With big, heavy curtains and very powerful air-conditioners, we were able to keep warm during those cold winter nights.
The bathroom was more luxurious than I’d expected! Underfloor heating and heated towel racks make all the difference on those chilly winter evenings as well as heating behind the bathroom mirror to prevent it fogging up after a steamy hot shower. The rainforest-head shower is a great size, offering plenty of deliciously hot water and great water pressure. The bathtub is perfect for soaking in, especially after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. I also loved the Appelle’s bath products provided – they’re my favourite brand of hotel products!
Upstairs, the living and dining area is absolutely huge! Our apartment had a great size kitchen (I won’t say kitchenette because it was such a good size) equipped with everything we needed to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lately, I’ve found myself loving self-contained apartment like this one because it makes travel easier, giving you the option to stay in and have a meal, do your laundry and not be forced to go out constantly!
With three couches and one arm chair, a huge dining table and chairs as well as a fireplace and outdoor area, there were plenty of spots for us all to spread out and relax. I loved sitting in the armchair with my feet hanging over the side, toasting them by the fire. It was so lovely to wake up each day and look out the windows, taking in the unbelievably gorgeous views of the lake and mountains.
I really liked how we could always see the mountains while the sun was up – it made all of us feel like we were really making the most of our time in Tekapo, not wasting it by being indoors.
But, what is there to do?
- Of course, the most obvious, is to spend some time marvelling at the beautiful Lake – I recommend visiting at sunrise and sunset
- Take a short walk to the Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen
- If you’re keen to see things from a new perspective, take flight with an Air Safari
- Be sure to visit the Mount John University Observtory for incredible views and a great cup of coffee
- If you love stars you may like to join a stargazing or astronomy tour
- Check out the Tekapo Springs and spend some time lazing in the warm water or whizzing down the snow in a tube
- Join Cruise Tekapo for a lake cruise and see things from a different angle altogether
- Set off on an adventure with Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking
- Go hiking and explore the local area and its stunning mountains by foot
- Spend your days whizzing around the slopes at the Roundhill Ski Area
- or… just catch up on your rest, read a good book, watch movies, enjoy the local wine and recharge!
Talk me through the food situation…
There are more restaurants in the area than you probably think! The recently opened Big 4 Supermarket is perfect for those opting to stay in a self-contained apartment like we did. I loved being able to grab some eggs and bread for breakfast and everything I needed to cook up a delicious red-wine-pasta feast for dinner. Guests can also have breakfast, lunch and dinner at Rakanui, the Resort’s on-site restaurant. Here are a few other ideas on where to eat in Tekapo:
- Mackenzie’s Bar and Grill
- Doughboys Bakery and Cafe
- Astro Cafe
- Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant
- Lake Tekapo Tavern
- Run 76 Cafe and General Store
- Kohan Japanese Restaurant
- Lake Tekapo Reflections Restaurant
- Pepe’s Pasta and Pizza Restaurant
- Robin’s Takeaway
- Rakanui Restaurant
- The Godley Resort Restaurant
We absolutely loved our stay at Peppers Bluewater Resort and were all quite sad when we had to pack up to leave. I loved how close our apartment was to the Lake, a very short walk down to the water’s edge, perfect for taking in the sunrise and exploring on foot. I also loved how much space we had, with enough room for everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves, while still providing us everything we needed to have an enjoyable and luxurious stay.
The Resort offers options from hotel rooms through to three bedroom villas, so there really is something for everyone. It’s the perfect base for anyone looking to escape for a couple’s getaway or find themselves a family-friendly spot. As a group of three, we relished the space and the way the apartment felt like our own slice of paradise, a home away from home. A wonderful resort in a beautiful location, Peppers Bluewater Resort was a real highlight for us and I would be more than happy to stay there again and recommend it to my family and friends.
Watch our fun Lake Tekapo video!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.