Clearest starry skies, highest mountains, vivid turquoise lakes, expansive golden grasslands - welcome to the Mackenzie Region!
Home to Aoraki/Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo, this region is one of the most photographed and visited in all of New Zealand. Take a scenic flight into the mountains and land on glaciers; enjoy stargazing within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve; explore the beautiful landscape by cycling, walking, kayaking, swimming, skiing and more.
Stay in boutique accommodation, eat local cuisine, and smile at the genuine Kiwi hospitality you’ll find all around you. This is a landscape that stays in your memory forever - truly one of New Zealand’s most cherished treasures.
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Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve
In 2012, over 4,300 square kilometres of Aoraki Mackenzie night sky was recognised as the world's largest, gold status International Dark Sky Reserve.
Mackenzie skies are almost totally free from artificial light pollution making the region "one of the best stargazing sites on Earth". The reserve is only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only eight in the world. Within this reserve is New Zealand’s premier astronomical research centre, the Mount John Observatory. Be sure to explore an astro tourism experience during your time in the region.
Aoraki/Mount Cook - Cloud Piercer
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is part of UNESCO's Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage region. Australasia's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,724m) is nestled here in the splendid Southern Alps.
According to Ngāi Tahu mythology, Aoraki along with his brothers turned to stone on the back of his waka and formed the Southern Alps. Aoraki's waka formed the South Island.
At the foot of the mountain, lies Aoraki/Mount Cook Village - the launching pad for the plethora of ways to explore this magnificent alpine environment. There's some world-class hiking and climbing to be had here - the practice ground for Sir Edmund Hillary before he successfully scaled Mount Everest.
For a fantastic showcase of the region and its history, check out The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at The Hermitage.
Striking turquoise blue in colour, Lake Tekapo provides a stunning backdrop for this bustling alpine village bursting with activities.
On the lake shore you'll find the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. Built as both a place of worship and memorial for Mackenzie's pioneering families, the alter window provides picture-postcard views over the lake to the mountains. A photo here is a must!
A walk up Mount John offers panoramic views of lakes, mountains and the surrounding Mackenzie Basin. Be sure to savour the views and enjoy a coffee from the cafe situated at the top.
There's something for every season from skiing to boating, hot pools to cycling tracks - Lake Tekapo is the perfect base to explore the Mackenzie region.
Glaciers and Ice Bergs
The majestic Tasman Glacier is the longest in New Zealand stretching for 27 kms and at a depth of over 600 metres.
With the effects of global warming the 300-500-year-old ice shelf is slowly tearing away, creating icebergs of all shapes and sizes into the increasing glacial lake.
Explore the icebergs up close via a boat or kayak tour, or capture the magnitude of the area via the air!
Turquoise Lakes and Golden Grasslands
Rich golden landscapes, powder blue canals and bright turquoise glacial landscapes form the tapestry of the Mackenzie Country.
The dramatic turquoise colour of the lakes is due to rock flour, suspended in the lake water reflecting the sunlight creating spectacular shades of blue.
Enjoy dramatic scenery transitions from colourful roadside lupins and wildflowers to the smooth tussock covered saddle of the Lindis Pass - scenery so perfect you'll feel like you're in a painting!
This place is a vast treasure trove of landscapes and experiences. Towering mountains give way to endless coastlines, rugged bush and unique land formations. Character towns and vibrant cities are gathering places of culture and activity. Christchurch – it’s just the beginning.