Lake Tekapo, NZ was cold. Really cold.
But my favorite event of our entire trip was there.
We did the most amazing thing…
We took a helicopter trip over Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain.
It. Was. Amazing.
The heli trip included touring over Mt. Cook National Park, Tasman Glacier, Murchison Glacier and the Southern Alps.
The weather was not so cooperative while we were in Tekapo. There had been a quite a bit of rain before we arrived so we weren’t even sure we were going to get to take the helicopter ride.
Man I was going to be bummed.
But luckily, the weather gods smiled upon us, the clouds parted and before I knew it, we were in the air and I was on my first helicopter ride!
Simon at Tekapo Helicopters was our pilot and he was great! He gave us tons of information about the area and gave us extra time in the air.
By car, Mount Cook is about an hour away from Lake Tekapo. The heli ride was about 20 minutes. The scenery to get there was amazing.
And when we actually got to Mount Cook…
But this view was not even the best part. The best part was:
We actually got to stand on Leibig Dome.
What an experience.
Out of all the amazing things we did and saw in our 3 weeks touring New Zealand, this was definitely all of our favorite thing. But this is not the only reason to go to Lake Tekapo.
While in Tekapo we also spent quite a bit of our time at Mt. John Observatory. The views of the town and mountains from the observatory were incredible. You can drive up, take in the sights, have a warm drink in the cafe and even take observatory tours.
The observatory is an astronomical research facility and was established in 1965. Through the University of Cantebury, and in conjunction with the Japanese Nagoya University, the observatory houses the largest telescope in New Zealand.
We did a night-time tour with Earth and Sky to experience the dark night , as they call it, and were surprised to find our tour guide through the observatory was an American and a recent astro physicist graduate from Arizona. She was living in Tekapo for a year, working at the observatory.
How cool is that??
If you have read some of the other posts about our trip, you know that the BHE did every bit of planning for this trip. Every bit. And not for one second was I disappointed with any plans or accommodations he had arranged.
In Tekapo, The BHE found a great little house, the Alpine Cottage. It was owned by a sweet gentleman, Pete, and his wife, who lived just up the street. It was quaint, with a touch of modern and rustic. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
Learn more about how we came to spend three weeks in New Zealand here.
Want to learn more about traveling in New Zealand? These are some of my favorite NZ books:
(these are affiliate links and if you purchase, I receive a small commission, it does not cost you any extra!)
New Zealand by Lonely Planet
Fodor’s New Zealand
DK Eyewitness New Zealand
So now, I can mark an item thing off my bucket list.
An exotic helicopter ride!
What’s on your bucket list? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?
I’d love to know!