Discover clear mountain and blue lake views from your Tekapo Lake Hotel in this essential South Island accommodation guide.
Looking for an unforgettable place to stay on your trip to the South Island of New Zealand? Situated between Christchurch and Queenstown beneath the snow-capped Southern Alps, you’ll discover the famous blue waters of Lake Tekapo.
With its magical mountain views, world-renowned star gazing opportunities, and famous lupin fields, staying at a lakeside cottage, resort, or lake hotel is a great way to break up your trip and experience the magic of the Mackenzie Basin.
Having explored New Zealand’s South Island extensively over my four trips I can confidently say that Lake Tekapo is one of the most picturesque places that I’ve visited in the country. I always spend at least a night here to wind down and for the amazing photography opportunities by the foreshore and the Church of the Good Shepard.
Whether you’re a budget or luxury traveler, here is a roundup of my favorite Lake Tekapo accommodation options to make your stay an unforgettable one.
- In a Hurry? Here are the Top Places to Stay in Lake Tekapo
- 7 Best Hotels, Resorts & Cottages in Lake Tekapo
- Before You Go Don’t Miss These New Zealand Experiences
- Plan a Trip to New Zealand
- More New Zealand Travel & Accommodation Guides
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
In a Hurry? Here are the Top Places to Stay in Lake Tekapo
There are several incredible hotels, lodges, & resorts found in the Lake Tekapo area with options for various budgets and group sizes.
The best accommodation picks are close to the lake for great views. But Lake Tekapo town is quite small, everything is within a short walking distance, including the golf course, lakes, supermarkets, and main town center.
To save time I have selected my top picks that you can book today.
1. Galaxy Boutique Hotel
Overlooking Tekapo Lake this hotel offers its guests a relaxing atmosphere and is located just a short walk from the town centre.
2. Lakes Edge Lodge Great Location
A great choice for those wanting a laidback and relaxing location with picturesque views over Lake Tekapo. Just a short walk from town and close to hiking trails and the lake's edge.
3. YHA Lake Tekapo Budget
A great choice for those wanting a budget-style accommodation choice. It offers private and dorm rooms and is located in the middle of Tekapo town with spectacular lake views.
7 Best Hotels, Resorts & Cottages in Lake Tekapo
Known for its incredible blue lake and breathtaking mountain surroundings, Lake Tekapo offers accommodation to suit all budgets.
Here are my recommended places to stay.
1. Galaxy Boutique Hotel
If you’re looking for luxury Lake Tekapo accommodation that has it all, look no further than Galaxy Boutique Hotel.
This 5-star accommodation is situated in the heart of Lake Tekapo and boasts a daily continental breakfast, which guests can enjoy before spending the day exploring on the free bikes or exploring the surrounding hikes such as the 1.5-hour hike to Cowans Hill which starts from town.
Other activities that can be enjoyed in the township include hiking, skiing, and soaking in the Tekapo Springs.
Each hotel room in this boutique hotel features air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom.
However, the main drawing card for this hotel is the views it boasts at night.
Since Lake Tekapo is located in the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, it has some of the clearest skies in the country, making it the perfect place to watch the stars. If you visit from May to September, you may have the chance to see the Aurora Australis from the floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights in every room.
Looking for a more challenging hike straight from your accommodation? I would suggest Mt John Summit. You can find this track by walking along the waterfront and following it to Lake Tekapo Hot Springs. Here you will see the sign and track to follow. At the summit, you'll discover the Canterbury Mount John University Observatory and Astro Cafe which has delicious coffee to enjoy whilst taking in the stunning views.
Located on the shores of Lake Tekapo, Peppers Bluewater Resort is the perfect lake resort if you’re looking for a stunning lake view beneath the Southern Alps.
This 4.5-star luxury aparthotel features 142 air-conditioned rooms. It's a great option for families or those traveling in larger groups as rooms can sleep up to 7, offering both space and comfort.
When you’re not spending time in your room marveling at the lake or stargazing at night, some of the best things to do near the accommodation include kayaking, rafting, hiking, and biking.
Some of the must-see attractions near the hotel include the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Tekapo Springs. On my last visit in late autumn, I particularly enjoyed relaxing at the Tekapo Springs and stayed until after sunset. I witnessed the sky turn to cotton candy and watched as the stars began to fill the sky. A truly incredible experience, and just a short walk from Pepper's Bluewater Resort.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat near the hotel, be sure to check out Dark Sky Diner or Jack Rabbit.
Grand Suites Lake Tekapo is a 4-star hotel that boasts stunning views of Lake Tekapo, Ideal for those who enjoy tranquil scenery and uninterrupted silence.
Each of the rooms features air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom, ensuring a comfortable and relaxed stay with three different room options to choose from which can sleep up to 4 guests.
The prime location of the hotel offers quick and easy access to the best things to do such as kayaking, cycling, and hiking. After a day of exploring, you can soak up the night sky as it dazzles with stars straight from your bedroom window.
No matter if you’re planning to stay during summer or winter, this hotel boasts spectacular views year-round, making it a top choice among the Lake Tekapo accommodations.
The nearest airport to the hotel is Richard Pearse Airport, which is 96 km away.
Perfect for any season, Mantra Lake Tekapo offers affordable accommodation for large groups and families.
Only a five-minute walk from the lake, Mantra Lake Tekapo features an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a garden, and cozy rooms.
Each of the rooms includes a kitchen, a washer and dryer, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. Surrounded by lush greenery in the summer and carpeted in snow in the winter, this hotel is a fantastic choice year-round.
A highlight is soaking in the hot pool at night time while stargazing! Lake Tekapo has some of the clearest skies in New Zealand, making stargazing a must-do.
Other activities to enjoy during the day include hiking, kayaking and if you're looking for an adventurous activity add horse riding to the list. On my last visit, I took a ride with Mackenzie Alpine Horses and can personally vouch for this epic experience and its only a few minutes drive from the Mantra Lake Hotel. The ride offered stunning views over the snowy peaks and the horses were exceptionally calm.
Some fantastic restaurants near the accommodation include Jack Rabbit, Dark Sky Diner, and Mackenzie’s Stonegrill.
If you’re in search of a unique quaint place to stay, look no further than the family-run Lake Tekapo Cottages.
Surrounded by pine trees and a gorgeous garden, these cottages are only a five-minute walk from the stunning Lake Tekapo but feel worlds away.
All of the studios and cottages at this accommodation are comfortably decorated and feature a private bathroom and private balcony, where you can relax after a day full of adventures.
There are bicycles, fishing gear, a telescope, and binoculars available to all guests. An attraction that is a short drive away and worth a look is the Lake Tekapo Lupin Field which has lupins from late November to January.
If you’re visiting between May and September, keep an eye out for the Aurora Australis.
Tip: Did you know New Zealand has some of the most incredible opportunities to spot the Aurora Australis? Valerie from Space Tourism Guide explains how Lake Tekapo is one of the best locations in New Zealand if not the world for watching the Aurora Australis due to its low light pollution.
Are you a budget traveler looking for the best place to stay in Lake Tekapo? Lakes Edge Lodge is the perfect hostel for you! I stayed here during my last visit and was blown away by the location and the cleanliness of the rooms.
Located only a three-minute drive from the town center, this accommodation boasts dormitory rooms, twin rooms, and family rooms, perfect for all types of travelers.
Some of the features at this hostel include BBQ facilities, laundry facilities, and bicycle hire. Some of the best things to do near the accommodation include fishing, horse riding, cycling, and hiking. If you're looking for something more relaxing then spend some time down near the lakes foreshore and spot the wild rabbits that call this area home.
If you don’t fancy cooking dinner, some of the best restaurants near the accommodation include Jack Rabbit, Dark Sky Diner, and Our Dog Friday.
It’s a short 15-minute walk to the town center, but there is a shuttle bus available for your convenience.
Finally, one of the best Lake Tekapo accommodations for budget travelers is YHA Lake Tekapo.
Located two streets from the lake, YHA Lake Tekapo boasts stunning views of the water and surrounding mountains. It is a short walk from the local supermarket and cafes.
Some of the features of this accommodation include a shared kitchen and shared lounge, free Wi-Fi, and bed linen. The rooms at the hostel range from dormitories to private rooms.
Guests can enjoy stargazing through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the shared lounge area. For the price you pay to stay here, it is a bang-for-buck choice!
Discover another classic South Island Lake:Lake Matheson Reflective Lakes
My Hotel Selection Process
- Accommodation Criteria: When selecting the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo I've focused on three main aspects which include cleanliness, location, and great lake views, keeping in mind a decent overall average price. Each accommodation option listed below ticks all the boxes for these aspects in order for you to have a comfortable and unforgettable stay at Lake Tekapo.
- My Experience: My first journey to Lake Tekapo was in 2017 and since then I have been back multiple times due to its incredibly beautiful scenery and magical night skies. I don't think I could ever miss Lake Tekapo on a trip to the South Island! My recommendations are based on places I've personally stayed and those I have heard highly of from other travelers, all with great community reviews.
- Top Reviews: The accommodation options in this guide all have high customer ratings and have consistently scored over 8.5/10 star rating on booking platforms such as Booking.com, Expedia, and Hotels.com. I've included links to each of the options that will direct you to the best deals.
- Local Insights: Although I haven't stayed in all of these hotels, many of my recommendations come from a close friend Dan who lived in the Lake Tekapo area during their travels throughout New Zealand where they worked as a tour guide at Mount Cook National Park. Additionally, I have incorporated my own experiences, and preferences of those from traveler forums and review sites to cull this list down to the best overall picks.
Read more about how I review & select hotels & accommodations.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. Each accommodation option in this guide is handpicked by me. Read my travel review ethics statement.
Frequently Asked Questions About Staying at Lake Tekapo
You might have some more questions about staying at Lake Tekapo.
Below I have answered more questions and added additional information that will help with planning your stay at the incredible Lake Tekapo.
While the township isn’t bursting with activities, unlike the things to do in Queenstown, there are enough activities to easily fill two or three days.
While Lake Tekapo is a stunning destination to visit any time of the year, it’s particularly beautiful during the spring, specifically in November. During this time, travelers can marvel at the lupins in bloom. However, the best time to visit Lake Tekapo for stargazing is summer and autumn (December to May). If you’d like a chance to see the Aurora Australis, the best time to visit is between March and September.
If you appreciate natural beauty, then Lake Tekapo is definitely worth it. From your gorgeous Lake Tekapo hotel you can easily walk to fantastic restaurants and enjoy a range of activities, marvel at the jaw-dropping scenery. I believe that Lake Tekapo needs to be on everyone’s bucket list.
The milky-turquoise water that Lake Tekapo is famous for can be attributed to the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) that is suspended in the water.
Yes, you can swim in Lake Tekapo. However, remember, just like the Blue Pools near Wanaka or the Hokitika Gorge, it is a glacier-fed lake, so even in the summer months, it is quite cold. Lake Tekapo is popular for recreational activities, such as swimming and boating, during the summer months.
Tekapo is a small town and attracts a lot of tourists. Therefore, it can be tricky to find a place to park your car. I recommend looking for a hotel in Lake Tekapo that offers free parking to avoid any additional costs.
Before You Go Don't Miss These New Zealand Experiences
New Zealand offers some of the most incredible landscapes and experiences in the world. Make sure you book your tours early so you don't miss out!
Plan a Trip to New Zealand
Still organising your trip to New Zealand? If you prefer independent travel like me, read my guide on how to plan a trip to New Zealand. Alternatively, check out the useful resources below that I use to plan all my trips around the world for the past 5 years of non-stop travel.
Flights: Find & compare flight deals to New Zealand using Skyscanner. Use the "search by month" feature to discover the cheapest day to fly.
Hostels: When it comes to scoring epic deals on hostels and cheap stays your secret weapon is Hostelworld. NZ is a great place for backpackers. Use the “See Who's Going” function to see who's staying in your dorm!
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To learn more about independent travel to anywhere else in the world, read my ultimate step-by-step guide on how to plan a trip.
More New Zealand Travel & Accommodation Guides
From 5-star hotels to budget hostels and cheap hotels, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from to suit all budgets in Lake Tekapo. I hope that this guide has helped you choose the perfect lakeside stay for your trip.
Whether you’re going to the lake, for stargazing, or adventurous outdoor activities, Lake Tekapo is a must-visit destination in New Zealand. Here are some more essential guides to more unique places to visit on the island.
- 36 Amazing Places to Visit in the South Island - my most comprehensive travel guide that is useful to help you find the best places to visit on your trip to the South Island
- Top Things to Do in Queenstown: Explore Queenstown's top hikes, epic adrenaline activities, and hidden gems.
- South Island's Best Hikes: I hiked over 50 trails in New Zealand. Here's my curated list of the most breathtaking hikes across New Zealand's South Island.
- Arthur's Pass Travel Guide: Dive into the heart of Arthur's Pass with my guide to the best places to visit.
- Best Mount Cook National Park Hikes: A hiking guide to the most scenic trails beneath Mount Cook.
- Best Views of Mount Cook: Discover the top spots to witness New Zealand's Aoraki peak in all its glory.
- Epic Things to do at Milford Sound: Explore 21 unique ideas get get inspired to visit Milford Sound!
- Catlins' Hidden Gems: Uncover the Catlins' best-kept secrets, from waterfalls to wild coastlines.
- How to Get to Milford Sound: My popular guide on the different ways to get to Milford Sound across the South Island.
- Mueller Hut Hike: My personal account of tackling New Zealand's most rewarding hut hike.
- Accommodation Resources: Plan where to stay in Queenstown and discover the amazing Tekapo Lake Hotels.