Walking, biking & free attractions

The Mackenzie Country offers so many free or low cost things to see and do you'll be wishing you can stay in Tekapo longer!

Walking and biking opportunities abound in the Lake Tekapo area, whatever your level of fitness. For your little ones, a children's playground is located on the lakefront, including flying fox.  View and download maps of the town facilites and tracks here.

Biking tracks and cycle trails

The extensive Lake Tekapo Regional Park is nestled on the eastern shore of the lake, and offers an array of mountain bike tracks, including a kids pump track. Graded easiest, easy and intermediate for mountain bikes. Dog-friendly. Download a park map here, and load up your bikes!   Bikes can also be hired locally from BeSpoke Bikes

The renowned Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail may be started in Tekapo, and meanders past great lakes and rivers down to the ocean at Oamaru.  Choose your route, whether it be just 1 day biking or experiencing the full trail over 5-7 days.  Bike and gear rental, luggage transfers and shuttle services from Tekapo are available with BeSpoke Bikes.

Frisbee golf

Located in the Lake Tekapo Regional Park.  BYO frisbee and download a course map here.

Walks & hikes

The following brief descriptions are taken from: 'Tekapo Trails: A Narrative Guide to 12 Trails near Lake Tekapo', a fantastic guide by resident Dennis Viehland.  The book contains all you would expect from a trail guide book – maps, distances, walking times, driving directions to the trailhead and trail descriptions, plus at least one story and/or a set of interesting facts relevant to that trail.  Tekapo Trails is available for purchase ($20) at Petronella’s Gallery and Bookstore in the village centre.

Lake Shore
Distance: 6.3 km (one way) / Walking time: 1h 40m (with no stops)
The Lake Shore trail offers the best panoramic views of Lake Tekapo. It's popularity is enhanced by it's connection with the Mt John Summit trail to make a loop trail known as the Mt John Walkway.  Dog-friendly.

Mt John Summit
Distance (including Observatory Circuit): 2.8 km (one way) / Walking time: 1 hour (with no stops)
Probably the most popular walk in Lake Tekapo. The trail starts at Tekapo Springs and finishes at the Astro Cafe. Everyone must do the summit climb (1.5 km, 35 minutes), but doing the Observatory Circuit trail (1.3 km, 25 minutes) is optional.

Lake Tekapo Foreshore
Distance: 3 km (one way) / Walking time: 45 minutes (with no stops)
A unique trail that features scientific, historical and modern structures built by people for God and fellow human beings, The trail begins at Sheep Dog Statue and finishes at Tekapo Springs. Dog-friendly.

Cowans Hill
Distance: 6.1 km (loop) / Walking time: 1h 30m (with no stops)
If you are looking for panoramic views of Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie Basin with the least amount of effort, this is it. This is a short walk to the top of Cowans Hill with only 71 meters of elevation gain. Dog-friendly.

Pines Beach
Distance: 3.2 km (one way) / Walking time: 45m (with no stops)
A very popular place to have a picnic. The Old Homestead Picnic Area has a range of facilities and the Pines Beach Picnic Area has solitude and great views. The Pines Beach trail is especially pretty in autumn when the willow trees are golden yellow. Dog-friendly.

Lake Tekapo Regional Park
Distance (boundary trail): 5.2 km (one way) / Walking time: 1h 40m (with no stops)
The LTRP covers 165 hectares of mostly coniferous forest on the south-east corner of Lake Tekapo. Tekapo Trails introduces the “boundary trail”, a series of trails that follow the southern, eastern and northern boundaries of the park. Dog-friendly.

Lake George Scott
Distance: 7.7 km (loop) / Walking time: 1h 50m (with no stops)
You could drive to Lake George Scott, but it is better to travel there on foot or bike. Stop along the way to admire expansive scenic views and then be impressed with the Tekapo A Power Station and the Tekapo Canal. Dog-friendly.

Peninsula Walkway
Distance: 5.6 km (loop) / Walking time: 1h 30m (with no stops)
Offers magnificent mountain-and-lake views of the northern end of Lake Tekapo. Additionally, the low-lying flatland on this peninsula provides a close-up perspective of Lake Tekapo that is different from the high-mountain trails 

Lake Alexandrina
Distance: 4.7 km (one way) / Walking time: 1h 20m (with no stops)
Follows the eastern shore of Lake Alexandrina from the southern end of the lake to its outlet into Lake McGregor. In autumn, the leaves of the willow trees add spectacular colour to the scenic views. In spring and summer, wildflowers are a bonus.

Lake McGregor
Distance: 4.6 km (loop) / Walking time: 1h 20m (with no stops)
Surrounds Lake McGregor, from its origin as a fast-flowing stream out of Lake Alexandrina, around the lake in a clock-wise direction and back along the stream. A viewpoint offers fantastic views of Lakes Alexandrina, McGregor and Tekapo.

Distance: 8.5 km (loop) / Walking time: 2h 10m (with no stops)
Lake Tekapo’s newest trail features panoramic views of mountains, a natural lagoon and an impressive glacial erratic. This is the longest trail in Tekapo Trails, but there is a short loop trail that takes you to the glacial erratic and back.

Te Araroa
Distance: 2.7 km (one way) / Walking time: 45m (with no stops)
An alternative route for the Te Araroa Trail – New Zealand’s long distance walking path. The trail is flat and completely shaded – perfect for an easy walk or bike ride on a hot summer day.


"Lovely couches...option of log burner...great house plan....good views....cosy and warm....township within walking distance."

Kaltech House, Sheryn (NZ), June 2020