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Legendary Mackenzie

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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See & Do In Mackenzie

Mackenzie Twizel Mirrored Lake photo by Rachel Stewart

5 Things You Can't Miss In Twizel

Explore the alpine retreat of Twizel and nearby picturesque lakes, including a world-standard rowing course and Formula One class boating area at Lake Ruataniwha..

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Mackenzie Lake Pukaki Kids Playing

Lakeside Picnic Spots In The Mackenzie Region

The Mackenzie Region is famous for blue lakes, rivers and beautiful mountains. A picnic on the shore of one of the stunning lakes is the perfect way to relax and take in the scenery.

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Mackenzie Hooker Valley Track Walkway

Top Activities In Aoraki/Mt Cook

It may be home to the tallest mountain in New Zealand, but you don’t have to be a mountain expert to experience the Aoraki/Mt Cook region in winter. From short walks and day hikes, to snow adventures and scenic flights, this area is sure to tick the boxes. So chuck on an extra layer or two, and explore the winter activities on offer in Aoraki/Mt Cook.

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Mackenzie Tasman Glacier Ice Cave
Credit: Rachel Gillespie

Top Winter Must Do's In The Mackenzie

Whether you’re after an adventure-packed holiday or a place to get away from it all, the Mackenzie Region is the perfect winter getaway. Just 2.5 hours drive from Christchurch, the region transforms into a winter playground that offers something for all ages.

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Mackenzie Highlights

Mackenzie Tasman Lake

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.

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Mackenzie Sealy Tarns Aoraki Mount Cook photo by Rachel Stewart

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.

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Bare Kiwi Church Of Good Shepherd
Credit: Bare Kiwi

Lake Tekapo

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.

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Bare Kiwi Ice Tunnel Mt Cook
Credit: Bare Kiwi

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!

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Bare Kiwi Hooker Valley Track
Credit: Bare Kiwi

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 and the smooth tussock covered saddle of the Lindis Pass - scenery so perfect you'll feel like you're in a painting!

Explore Turquoise Lakes And Golden Grasslands

Explore by Foot or Bike

Bare Kiwi Aoraki Hooker Valley
Credit: Bare Kiwi

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Discover the highest mountains, awe-inspiring glaciers, vivid turquoise lakes, golden grasslands and dazzling starry skies.