The picturesque country of New Zealand offers some breath-taking sights on every turn. A great way to truly explore the magnificence that this country has to offer is to opt to drive around its most popular tourist attractions. One of the best drives to consider during your time here is the one between Christchurch and Lake Tekapo.
Driving to Lake Tekapo from Christchurch
The approximate distance between the two destinations is 220 km and the drive takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. However, if you are looking for a scenic adventure, it is best to opt for a car rental in Christchurch and drive through Darfield on State Highway No. 77. While this route may take a little longer, the changing scenery on the two-lane rural road is well worth the additional time.
What to Expect on the Way
This route allows you to cross the Canterbury Plains that are flat and full of endless fields of wheat. However, before you know it, you will go through patches of greener land before you start getting the first views of the magnificent Southern Alps.
Reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, the countryside offers some great photo-ops and breathtaking views that you may want to stop for and soak in.
Right after Glentunnel, you will witness the gorgeous sight of Rakaia Gorge, which also makes for a great pit-stop. Make note of the milky green water, which is because of the sediment released due to the movement of the glaciers. This raw countryside proves to be a photographer’s dream come true.
Next, you will arrive at the town of Geraldine, famous for its family-owned Barker’s Store that sells preserves, jams, ice-cream toppings and sauces. The town is also home to a great artisan cheese shop. If you plan on spending a night at the lake, this town is where you want to stock up on all your groceries, bread rolls and Paninis.
Depending on how many stops you take, you should arrive at Lake Tekapo in about 4.5 hours.
Things to Remember While Driving to Lake Tekapo
Whether you end up taking a direct route or the longer alternative from Christchurch, you will not be able to avoid crossing any bridges.
If you are used to driving on the right-hand side, you may find it challenging to drive too close to the center line of the road while driving in New Zealand. In such cases, make sure you bring along another driver who is accustomed to the local way of driving.
You could also want to extend your scenic drive by heading further ahead from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki and then head to Mount Cook National Park.This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure