10 Interesting facts about Lake Tekapo, the most famous lake in New Zealand

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You are currently viewing 10 Interesting facts about Lake Tekapo, the most famous lake in New Zealand

Lake Tekapo is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Along with being beautiful, this lake has a lot of interesting facts about it. This story has ten interesting facts about Lake Tekapo that most people don’t know.

1. Lake Tekapo is the third-biggest lake in the Mackenzie Basin.

Mackenzie Basin, also called Te Manahuna, is in the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts. The name was given to Scottish shepherd James McKenzie in his honour. Before it became a famous tourist spot, the basin was known for being a great place to raise sheep.

Lake Pukaki is the next biggest lake in the basin, at 178.7 km2. It is followed by Lake Alexandrina, which is 640 ha. Lake Tekapo comes in third with an area of 83 km2, and Lake Ohau comes in fourth with an area of 60 km2.

There aren’t many people living in the Lake Tekapo community—fewer than 500. Mountain ranges with snow on top and glacial lakes like Lake Pukaki, Tekapo, Alexandrina, and Ohau dot the scenery.

2. The main source of water comes from the southern mountains

From the north, the Godley River and the Macaulay River are two of the main rivers that flow into Lake Tekapo. The main streams that feed these two rivers are north of the Southern Alps. The light blue colour of the lake comes from the snow melting in the Southern Mountains.

The beginning of the Godley River is in Mount Cook National Park, and it has many branches. The Macaulay River starts in the Two Thumb Ranges in the Southern Alps.

From the west, the Mistake River and the Cass River meet at Lake Tekapo. The water for the two rivers comes from the Hall Ranges.

3. The Māori believe that Rakaihautu dug out Lake Tekapo.

The MacKenzie District Council said that the lake will also be known by its te reo Maori name, Takapo. The second-largest group of people in New Zealand are Maori.

New Zealand’s Maori people believe that Rakaihautu made the lakes on the South Island during his travels after arriving in Urua waka, Nelson. The traveller from Waitaha split his people into two groups. One group of travellers was led by his son Rakihouia to the east coast of South Island, while he went to the middle of the island.

The chief Maori, Ngai Tahu, would go to Lake Tekapo and Lake Alexandria to catch eels and weka to store and preserve for the cold winter months when food was scarce.

4. Motuariki Island is in the middle of Lake Tekapo.

Motuariki, a relative of the Arai-te-uru, is the name of the island. The waka, which is a Maori boat, is thought to have capsized off the coast of Otago near Shag Point. Once it got light outside, the people on the waka decided to go explore the area, and many of them never came back to the waka.

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One of the people who died was Motuariki, who in legend turned into an island in the middle of the lake.

5. It is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo gets six and a half hours of sunshine every day, making it one of the sunniest places in the country. On a clear day, you can see Mount Cook’s snow-covered peaks from Lake Tekapo.

6. Lake Tekapo Village is a well-known place for tourists to visit

Lake Tekapo is a place where people can go for fun activities like swimming, fishing, and cross-country skiing. Swimming is allowed along the lake’s shallow eastern edges. Even though boats are allowed, there are places where you can’t go faster than a certain speed.

The town of Lake Tekapo is full of snowboarders and skiers in the winter. Both Roundhill and Mount Dobson are ski areas that are close to town.

7. This is a part of Lake Tekapo Regional Park

Lake Tekapo Regional Park is on the eastern shore of Lake Tekapo. The Environmental Canterbury Regional Council has been in charge of it since 1989. Its beautiful land, which used to be a reserve for protecting soil, is now covered in conifer trees.

There is a 24 km trail in the park that people can use to walk, run, or ride mountain bikes.

8. A project to use water to power homes includes Lake Tekapo

In the Waitaki Hydro System, which goes from Lake Tekapo to Lake Waitaki, there are 8 power plants. The programme was made because of the South Island’s strong need for energy.

In the 1920s, work began on the first station because the New Zealand government saw that the Waitaki Valley could be used to make energy.

There was a time when the Tekapo River went southwest from the southern end of Lake Tekapo to meet the Pukaki River. A tunnel was used by the Waitaki Hydroelectric Project to move water from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki. Most of Lake Tekapo’s water now flows out through the canal.

9. It is part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (DSP).

A protected area called a “black sky reserve” doesn’t allow the use of too much or improper artificial light outside. A dark sky is important for astronomy and environmental history because it is connected to math, science, social growth, and many parts of history.

In June 2012, the International Dark Sky Association named Aoraki Lakes and the Mackenzie Basin as the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

The Mount John University Observatory of the University of Canterbury is in the Mackenzie Basin. As astrotourism businesses grow, more and more tourists interested in astronomy will visit the area.

10. A national highway runs along the southernmost part of Lake Tekapo.

State Highway 8 cuts through Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin to make the loop. It is one of the eight main roads in New Zealand. SH8 goes west from Fairlie and goes by the southernmost parts of Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki.

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