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Explore NZ Travel Blog

Visiting Mt John Observatory


Listening to the peace of Mt John in the pitch black is a restful and immersive moment where time may be temporarily forgotten. Powerful telescopes and binoculars will give unique insights into the world above and with the help of scientists as tour guides, you will be given the opportunity to see star clusters, zodiacal light and distant galaxies which will stretch the limits of your imagination. During the day, visitors will be equally taken in by the grand panoramic views of the surrounding Mackenzie District and jewel toned waters, providing endless photographic opportunity.

The area of Lake Tekapo itself offers a range of activities to suit all interests including a number of walking trails, mountain biking, fishing, scenic flights and Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking, welcoming all levels of rider. Day treks here cost from NZ$25 to NZ$260 per person for 30 minutes up to a full day. An overnight package with dinner and breakfast is also offered at NZ$350 where riders will camp, sleeping under the stars and watch the sun rise against Aoraki Mt Cook.

If you are passing through this seemingly untouched piece of New Zealand, Lake Tekapo and Mt John are well worth a visit if you are looking for an alternative view of this magnetic country. Whether looking to engage your imagination and inspire thought or get stuck straight in with an experience of outdoor adventure, this landscape is much more than a pretty view.

GO Play activities in this area

  • 10% Off

    Helicopter Scenic Flight

    Fly around Mt Cook and see the unbelievable scenery that unfolds from the top of New Zealand’s highest peak. Combine this with landing on the Tasman Glacier and experiencing the "natural silence" of this very special place with so much to offer. You’ll find hanging glaciers, rivers of ice and views of the incredible West Coast and Tasman Sea, then fly over calved icebergs on your return flight. It doesn’t get any better than this!

    Departs Makarora near Wanaka. Tel : 0800 345 666

  • 5% Off

    Scenic Flight

    Experience a touch of adventure with Mount Cook Ski Planes. Join them on a spectacular Ski Plane or Helicopter flight in Mt Cook and Westland National Parks. You will then fly across the Main Divide of the Southern Alps to view the sweeping coastline and stunning alpine vistas of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Experience the thrill of a Ski Plane glacier landing with 10-15 minutes on the snow to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps.

    Mount Cook Airport. Tel : 03 435 1460