Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook & Tekapo

Pukaki & Mt Cook

We decided to call into Lake Pukaki for a night, so that we could spend a day up around Mt Cook. As we headed up the highway we picked up some fresh salmon from High Country Salmon. Yum!

 There’s a large free camping area along the edge of Lake Pukaki, with views to Mt Cook and overlooking the stony turquoise blue lake lined with dark green pines. Probably the best view point in the area!

During the day we tiki toured up to Mt Cook, to have a look around and do a walk. In the end we decided on a short hike up to the Tasman Glacier and Blue Lakes (now green) as the midday sun was just roasting us. The clouds around Mt Cook hung around all day, teasing us with glimpses as we looked across the milky glacier. Squirrel Helicopters buzzed like bees, every 15 minutes or so, taking people on scenic flights through the mountains.

Later in the evening as we went for a stroll along the A2O trail which ran above the Lake Pukaki, we finally got treated to Mt Cook in full view as the sun started to drop.


There’s not many places to stay in Tekapo, but being part of the NZMCA club, we have access to a few extra places. The club park in Tekapo is stunning - so much so, that we stayed an extra night. It’s a decent sized area, nestled in the towering pines along the northern edge of sparkling Lake Tekapo. Situated along an easy cycle/walking trail into town, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find giant pinecones as big as your head! 

There’s not a lot to do in Tekapo, unless you want hot pools, overpriced stargazing tours and observatory lookouts. We jumped on our bikes and cruises along the east trail from the lakeside into town, grabbed an ice block each and moseyed around.

Later on, we went for a drive towards the end of Lake Tekapo into the mountain range, so the hubby could get his fix of the hills. Well that was some drive... a gravel dirt road that went on for miles! The dusty road was lined with paddocks either side, with merino sheep and cattle. The dry, rolling hills deceived you- they seem short but those golden tussock topped hills just carry on for ever. 

Gale force winds came sweeping down the valley that night, shaking our caravan as the wind pummeled into us along the lake. It meant a change of plans- we were going to spend the day on the lake with friends and their boat, but the usually calm lake was choppy with white caps. We just relaxed for the day, before heading back in the evening, to Waimate for a night or two and to collect Ridge.