In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, tramp and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ve ever had! We’ve also recommended the best rental car so you can explore the region in comfort and style!

In this Complete Guide, we’re going to be taking a deeper dive into the popular South Island destinations of Tekapo and Mt Cook. Located in the central South Island, Tekapo is an awesome place to visit all year round. From the winter skiing to the spring lupins to the turquoise waters – there’s so much to love about Tekapo. Nearby Mt Cook village is a great place to base yourself for exploring the Mt Cook National Park. Set to the backdrop of New Zealand’s biggest mountain, and with amazing walks wherever you look, this is an outdoor lower’s paradise. So, let’s get stuck in and give you some top tips for making the most of a trip to these two fantastic destinations. Let’s GO!

Best accommodation in Tekapo and Mt Cook

There is a great range of accommodation options in both Tekapo and in and around Mt Cook. From luxury hotels to camping, Airbnbs to cheap and cheerful motels. It is possible to explore Mt Cook from a base in Tekapo – it’s a bit of a drive to get out there but it can definitely be done. Most people, however, will stay for a couple of nights in Tekapo and then push on to Mt Cook for at least one more night before carrying on with your South Island adventure. No matter what you do, here are some of the best accommodation option in Tekapo and Mt Cook.

Best places to eat out in Tekapo and Mt Cook

Tekapo is not the biggest town in New Zealand but for a relatively small destination, it’s not short on great places to eat out. Mt Cook Village is another place that bats above its average when it comes to choices for eating out. What both of these places do enjoy is stunning vistas. Whether it’s looking out over the turquoise lake or staring up at the mountains, you will never be short of a view for dinner in either location. Here are some of the top tips from our GO Explorers:

Best walks in Tekapo and Mt Cook

As you would imagine, there are some pretty amazing walks to be found in both Tekapo and in particular, in Mt Cook National Park. Most people who head down here come for the amazing outdoor opportunities – skiing in the winter and other snow activities and some great walking tracks in the summer. Here are some of the best walks in Tekapo and Mt Cook and some of the amazing views you are rewarded with:

Rent the perfect car for your adventure

Recommended vehicle for exploring Tekapo


0-1 year(s) old

The Ford Everest Titanium is perfect for exploring the rugged roads around Tekapo with adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

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5 Seats

4 large bags

6 small bags

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