Local Escapes

13 Of The Best Places To Stay In Lake Tekapo From Hotels And Motels To Airbnbs

By Alice Rich

An Insta-worthy Church of the Good Shepherd sits on the lakefront with spellbinding mountain vistas in the background.

The gateway to some of the best stargazing in Aotearoa and the world, Lake Tekapo is one helluva holiday destination, for starry-eyed lovers and families alike. The great thing is, once you’ve made it to Tekapo, most attractions are within walking distance. You can marvel at beautiful scenery, cool off in the lake, or cycle around the township, or do absolutely nothing at all and feel damn virtuous while you’re at it. 

So we've done the hard yards to bring you Urban List's guide to the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo. 

Peppers Bluewater Resort

State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 2-7

A swanky resort backed by snow-covered mountains in Tekapo. Image credit: Peppers Bluewater Resort | Booking .com 

Undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo, especially if you dig slick hotel vibes, Peppers Bluewater Resort is exactly where you need it to be—a short walk from the famed Church of the Good Shepherd (which will no doubt serve as a breathtaking addition to your ‘Gram).

With capacity for one, two or even seven people, and with all the essential amenities, nobody need miss out on this glorious abode. Better still, most accommodation options include a balcony, perfect for revelling in mountain or lake views.

Stargazer’s Luxury Retreat

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 2

A swish modern outdoor hot tub and incredible lake view at Stargazer’s Luxury Retreat, one of the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo. Image credit: Stargazer’s Luxury Retreat | Airbnb

Gaze upon the Milky Way while soaking in a modern outdoor bathtub or huddle with a loved one around the toasty indoor fireplace. The s’mores are practically making themselves at this point.

Opposite the famed Church of the Good Shepherd (which will no doubt serve as a breathtaking addition to your ‘Gram), the Stargazer’s Luxury Retreat is on the lakefront with incredible views of both Lake Tekapo and the mountains beyond.

This luxe spot has a fully equipped kitchen, with a coffee maker—score!; as well as WiFi, cosy bean bags, and a bathroom that has a generous shower and yet another bathtub, you know, for indoor-outdoor flow. 

Aldourie Lodge

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 6 

A gate and path, bordered by wildflowers, which leads to Aldourie Lodge, one of the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo. Image credit: Aldourie Lodge | Airbnb

If you froth refurbished historic interiors and the thought of a holiday with your very own library den (complete with fireplace) is enough to make you weep with joy, you’ll want to book into Aldourie Lodge, stat.

One of Tekapo’s original homes, the spaces carry spades of character and history, with modern amenities, and is just 100 metres from the lakefront. With three bedrooms the lodge is large enough to accommodate a posse, or not—you do you.

Then there’s the garden, which is something else. Filled with florals, trees and green spaces, relaxation will come naturally. And if you’d like to take a wander through town? There’s a footbridge to the village at the bottom of the garden. 

Mantra Lake Tekapo 

1 Beauchamp Place, Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 2-6 

A resort with a large pool and spa pool with snowy mountain views. Image credit: Mantra Lake Tekapo | Booking .com

If that mackin’ great pool (and, yep, that’s a spa tucked in the corner there) hasn’t already got you smashing the ‘book’ button, can we reiterate that while you’re blissing out in these pools you’ll be gazing upon none other than the Southern Alps?

Yesiree, Mantra Lake Tekapo isn’t messing around. Each self-contained apartment includes a private balcony or patio, a lounge room and a fireplace to keep you cosy in the cooler months. While you’ll get an hour of free WIFI, you’re likely going to be out and about adventuring anyway so take it as an invitation to take a well-deserved digital detox. 

Dark Sky Villas

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 4 

Two modern villas and an incredible night sky filled with stars.  Image credit: Dark Sky Villas | Airbnb

One of a pair of delightfully mod-boxy abodes, Dark Sky Villas is a great shout for a getaway with several families. Located on the lakefront there’s plenty of scope for swimming, even in winter (if you’re game!), or you can rug up on the deck and while away the hours gazing at the night sky.

Kids will be kept busy with a flying fox and play area just five minutes away. Even closer is a tennis court and the alternative start for the Alps 2 Ocean Trail if you’re digging an active jaunt before curling up in front of the large TV screen and having a celebratory Netflix binge.

Ideally, a five-minute walk will deliver you to a Four Square supermarket for that all-important snack run and the ultimate movie night experience. 

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James Mackenzie Lodge (The Cairns Alpine Resort) 

4 guests | 2 bedrooms

The interior of a wooden hut at Alpine Lodge, one of the best places to stay in Lake Tekapo. Image credit: James Mackenzie Lodge | Airbnb

For luxe chalet vibes, look no further than a lodge at James Mackenzie Lodge (The Cairns Alpine Resort). A classic Mackenzie region musterers hut aesthetic with modern trimmings to boot, this is another one-of-a-pair situation created to balance both community and privacy.

The lodge, which is designed to make the most of natural light, has an open-plan kitchen, cosy fireplace and heat pump, bathtub, and deck area so you’ve got a bunch of different chill-out zones, depending on your mood.

Here, you might spend your time walking or cycling around the township, playing a round of golf, or getting amongst a Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trek. Dreamy. 

The Red Hut

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 2  

A rustic red hut in Lake Tekapo. Image credit: The Red Hut | Booking .com

The other half of the Cairns Alpine Resort, The Red Hut is an adorable wee getaway that would make for a romantic weekend away, a snug catch-up with a bestie or even a cheeky writer’s retreat for one.

Again, this is an old-school exterior elevated with comfortable interiors. There’s a kitchenette with a microwave and stovetop, a studio-style bedroom and lounge with a cosy fire, outdoor seating for sunset and sunrise vibes, aircon and WiFi.

Here, you can live a secluded, restful life or, with a short stroll, get amongst all the township has to offer. 

Lake Tekapo Village Motel 

Village Centre, State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 2-6 guests 

A block motel unit at Lake Tekapo Village Motel, one of the best places to stay in Tekapo. Image credit: Lake Tekapo Village Motel | Booking .com

Snag a studio or two-bedroom apartment at Lake Tekapo Village Motel (or go all-out with their epic penthouse apartment) and live it up. A 20-second walk from the Dark Sky Reserve, and a short stroll to hikes, restaurants and good coffee, you’ll have the best of everything Tekapo has to offer at your fingertips.

There’s a supermarket nearby too, for snack runs—perhaps en route to Mount Cook National Park which is just 12km away—plus you’ll enjoy lake views and a playground right outside. Loved by locals and internationals alike, this motel’s definitely one of the best places to stay in Tekapo.

Peaceful Tiny House

Fairlie | Sleeps 3  

A staircase leading up to a loft bed and the view through to a washing machine at a peaceful tiny house in Fairlie. Image credit: Peaceful Tiny House | Airbnb

Ok, this spot isn’t exactly in Tekapo (it’s about a half-hour drive away) but there’s something about tiny houses that gets us every time and this one with sweeping mountain views is no exception.

Everything has a place in this small but perfectly formed creation with a kitchenette (with microwave, mini oven and a gas cooktop), bathroom, a gorgeous wooden dining table with kauri chairs, and a staircase up to a loft-style bedroom with a skylight for stargazing while being WiFi-free will help you unwind.

1km from Fairlie town and a 15-minute drive from Mt Dobson ski fields, this tiny home is well worth considering. 

The View Tekapo East

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 4  

Two deck chairs on a slab deck overlooking a jaw-dropping view of Lake Tekapo. Image credit: The View | Airbnb

With a name like ‘The View’, it’ll come as no surprise that this Tekapo accommodation’s standout is a jaw-dropping vista that looks out over the town, across the lake and up into spectacular mountain ranges. Just imagine how good that’s going to look at nighttime when the sky’s full of stars.

The interiors are spacious, minimalist and comfortable, with a full kitchen, a washing machine and dryer, gas fire, WiFi, board games and books. Within mere minutes a walk will get you to the heart of the township. Delightful. 

Doctor’s Retreat

Lake Tekapo | Sleeps 4 

A well appointed wooden cottage, one of the best places to stay in Lake TekapoImage credit: Doctor's Retreat | Airbnb

Serving a rustic sort of fairytale vibe, the Doctor’s Retreat serves a cabin-in-the-forest exterior which wouldn’t be out of place on a Pinterest board. While the house doesn’t have a view of the lakefront, you can reach the water with just a 250-metre walk.

Charming in the summer sunlight and exquisite in the winter snow (there’s a log fire, double glazing and a portable heater to make sure you stay warm in the colder months), it’s a great pick for a getaway any time of the year. 

Haka House Lake Tekapo

5 Motuariki Lane, Lake Tekapo | Sleeps many

A triangular, teepee-shaped lounge looks out onto Lake Tekapo at YHA Tekapo, one of the best places to stay in Tekapo. Image credit: Haka House | Booking .com

If hostel vibes are more your thing, Haka House Lake Tekapo is for you. Located in the town centre, you’re well-positioned for adventure in the form of hiking, cycling and skiing, and there are a bunch of local cafes and restaurants a short walk away.

Bunk beds are available from as little as $45 per night in a four-bed dormitory (with women-only dorms available too) and include bed linen, a private bathroom and access to a communal kitchen.

Importantly, all beds have nearby sockets and unlimited WiFi is available on site. Private rooms are also available and include their own bathroom and kitchenette, perfect for if you’re after a bit of seclusion without the massive price tag. The hostel also offers luggage storage for those still keen to adventure after check out. 

Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation

11 Aorangi Crescent, Lake Tekapo | Sleeps many 

A cute cottage sits on a joyful lawn peppered with trees. A hammock hangs from two of the trees. Image credit: Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation | Booking .com

Another similar option is Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation. There are no dorms, rather, a series of twin share and family rooms.

The sprawling grounds are the real drawcard here, with large grassy spaces, trees, a hammock, playground, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and sheep. Needless to say, sprogs would have a total ball.

Guests have access to a shared kitchen, shared bathrooms and a ski storage room making winter holidays a breeze. The location’s pretty prime too being located five minutes’ walk from the Cairns Golf Course and a five-minute drive from Tekapo Springs and the Church of the Good Shepherd. Rad. 

Want to see more of Aotearoa? Check out:

Main image credit: James Pere

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