Lake Wanaka and Lake Tekapo are two of the many lakes that we saw on our travel around the South Island of New Zealand.
Both lakes are VERY much worth a visit.
Wanaka is a fun little ski town. While not right by a ski area, it gives great access to three ski areas around it. For those who have been to Frisco, Colorado, think that but think of what it would have been like in about 1990, with more services available.
The locals are concerned about it starting to develop into something much bigger and losing it’s local charm. I could definitely see that as Wanaka is a really cool spot for some amazing views of lakes and mountains, but I think most people will still be drawn to the bigger and more reputed neighbor to the south, Queenstown.
Wanaka definitely merits a visit, and a longer stay if you are going to ski in New Zealand.
Lake Tekapo, and the Tekapo area, is supposedly really an up-and-coming area in New Zealand for stargazers from around the world. They have laws in Tekapo about how many street lights can be on at night. They’re really working to keep the night sky clear for amazing viewing. The result of muted light at night seems to also be muted voices at night, as the town, while lively, had an overall very peaceful and super calm atmosphere.
I was able to get some really great pictures of the moon shining down on Lake Tekapo by setting a long exposure and adjusting the ISO Sensitivity on our camera.
There’s not a lot going on in Tekapo outside of the lakeside activities, but there are hot springs, a spa, an ice skating rink, and a tubing hill. Tekapo would make a great 2-3 day getaway from the 3 hour away and bigger city of Christchurch, or would make a good place to go and just get lost (for a month or longer stay).
Of the two, I liked Tekapo best, but both Tekapo and Wanaka merit a visit on any trip (longer than 10 days) through New Zealand.