Armchair Travel – Twizel, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo – South Island, New Zealand

Come on a virtual trip from your lounge room! While we are stuck at home and unable to travel, I thought I would put together visual trips of some faraway places. This way we can all participate in some photography escapism and remind ourselves of how big and diverse this world really is. And who knows?  You may just get some inspiration for a future trip.

So sit back, relax and let me take you on a journey!

ARM CHAIR TRAVEL – Twizel, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo – South Island, NEW ZEALAND

We stayed in Twizel for three nights on an amazing farm stay. It was a great base to go exploring the lakes and New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mount Cook.

Around the corner from our farm stay was Lake Ruataniwha. We drove down each day for the views and sunsets.

Lake Ruataniwha is actually artificial, it was created in the late 1970s, early 1980s as a result of the Waitaki hydroelectric project. It is very popular for rowing and watersports.

Tiwzel is located in the Mackenzie district in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. Driving to nearby towns and attractions takes you down long stretches of highway, with scenic fields and mountains all around. Basically a road tripper’s dream route!

We saw some amazing skies while we were in Twizel and surrounds, with the most surreal cloud formations.

Twizel is located in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark-Sky Reserve, one of only 5 in the world. The skies are so clear and the area is perfect for stargazing.

While staying in Twizel we looked into doing an astronomy tour at the nearby Mount John University Observatory at Lake Tekapo. We decided against it as we had a day of rain and lots of cloud cover, as well as a full moon so visibility would be limited. We didn’t want to sign up to an expensive tour that started at one in the morning, and would have been a ninety minute drive away, if we weren’t going to see anything!

Every time we drove in or out of Twizel we kept chasing skies and cloud formations! These strange circular ones looked like UFOs. The size and magnitude of the sky was mesmerising.

Something about these big clear skies is really peaceful, as was staying in the small community of Twizel. We would love to go back in winter and explore more lakes, try our luck at the Observatory and even visit the ski fields!


A short drive away from Twizel leads you to the shores of Lake Pukaki; gateway to Mount Cook and home of some of the bluest water I had ever seen! Further on you reach Lake Tekapo, famous for the observatory, hot springs and Church of the Good Shepherd.

We spent one day exploring Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, but it was quite grey, windy and cold. The next day we drove back past Lake Pukaki en route to Mout Cook and we were blessed with sunshine that really made the lake glisten.

So that was a visual diary of our brief three days in the Mackenzie region of New Zealand! We bookended our time in Twizel with time staying in Queenstown, an equally visually appealing destination. I’ll save that for another armchair travel experience!




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