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Trip Report

Tekapo and Queenstown: Two Must-Visit Lakes and Towns in New Zealand

Tekapo: A Guide to the sunniest city in the South Island. Queenstown: experience urban life in the heart of nature.

  • Lake Tekapo+ 5
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Tekapo and Queenstown: Two Must-Visit Lakes and Towns in New Zealand
About Me:I am Alice, 21yo and I took a gap year for travelling in New Zealand and in South America. read more

OceaniaNew Zealand2 days / July - August - September 2023

Highs & Lows

At Queenstown there is a lot of places for hang out, at Tekapo everything is calm and peaceful

Can be very cold, especially during the winter

Itinerary Overview

Here are my two favorite lakes and towns in New Zealand. Tekapo is a very quiet and cute little village. I stayed there all winter to work there. I never got tired of this view every morning. The water is a particularly splendid blue. However, it's not really a lively city. So it's perfect if you want to rest and be completely surrounded by nature. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more lively place, Queenstown is the place to go. Queenstown Lake is bigger and I am always impressed by the mountains that surround it! Queenstown is quite a festive town with lots of tourists but also seasonal tourists so it's perfect for partying. There are many activities possible to do on this lake, including boat tours which are very nice. There are a lot of restaurants and stores in this city. I went there several times, the weather wasn't always very nice but when the weather wasn't nice you can always take refuge in a café with a superb view.

  • 1 Night: Lake Tekapo
  • 1 Night: Queenstown
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Lake Tekapo

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Tekapo is a village well known for its lake and its sky. It is the sunniest city in the South Island. There is an ice rink and a spring pool. Many hikes can be done in Tekapo. The best known is Mount John. This hike is not very long (1h30) and you have a breathtaking panoramic view at the top. For accommodation, there are many very luxurious hotels in Tekapo. But if you want to save money while being in a clean, comfortable place with a view of the lake; I recommend the YHA which will soon become Hala lodge. Every Wednesday you have a small market on the village square, which is very nice and the atmosphere is very family-friendly. It is a place that is hugely frequented by tourists especially during spring because the flowers make the magic of this landscape even more incredible. During winter and spring, many aquatic activities are offered on the lake.

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If you are a traveler, Queenstown is the must-visit city in New Zealand. There are many, many seasonal workers who work in Queenstown. In fact, there is a ski resort very close to this town and many activities offered on the lake. Including boat tours. There are also many restaurants and bars in Queenstown. It's a very good place to party. The city is very safe, I have several times walked alone in the streets of Queenstown in the middle of the night, and I have never felt unsafe. This is also the case for the majority of towns in New Zealand. What's nice about Queenstown is being able to be immersed in an urban lifestyle while remaining in nature, with this huge lake which borders the city. The lake is surrounded by a mountain range which is super impressive. I also recommend the Queenstown YHA. It is located opposite the lake, a little outside the city (so quiet) and you can easily get to city Center without transport. There is many beautiful hikes in Queenstown as well!


Q & A

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    I spend maybe too much money in Queenstown ;)
  • Restaurant recommendations?

    For TeKapo I recommend 25degrees where they make pretty good burgers !
  • Tips you would give a friend?

    Go to the YHA TeKapo ! The view is amazing. And also for Queenstown I recommend the YHA because it’s in a quiet place but not very far to the city center.
  • Packing tips?

    Hicking clothes for both and for Queenstown add party clothes ;)
  • Transportation Tips?

    Everything is easier with a car
  • Any surprises?

    The view is too much amazing