Mount John University Observatory, Lake Tekapo

4.5
#2 of 6 in Sightseeing in Mackenzie District
Observation Deck Scenic Walking Area
Gaze into the outer reaches of the universe at Mount John University Observatory, an astrological center offering day and night tours of its facilities, plus the opportunity to use the telescope to spot the moon, stars, and other planets. The top of Mt. John makes an ideal location for this observatory thanks to the superior visibility afforded by the expansive landscape and the lack of manmade light from the surrounding area. Established in 1960, the center hosts some of the world's leading astronomical research programs. Visitors have the chance to marvel at the wonders of space and the largest telescope in New Zealand, accompanied along the way by knowledgeable staff. See Mount John University Observatory and all Lake Tekapo has to offer by arranging your trip with our Lake Tekapo travel itinerary maker.
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Where to stay in Lake Tekapo

Because of its humble size, the small town of Lake Tekapo has a limited amount of accommodations. That said, among the available lodgings you'll find a good variety of options, from scenic resorts and cottages to youth hostels and budget accommodations. Motels provide a good option along the side of the roads leading to and from the town.
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4.4
  • Definitely worth the $8 fee to drive up. From here we could see the whole Lake Tekapo area. There is a coffee shop up there where you could get some light refreshment and take in the view slowly.  more »
  • There is an $8 per car charge, which goes towards the maintenance of the site. The drive is fairly steep, narrow and winding to the top. There are number of walks from the top, you can't enter the tel...  more »
  • I took the way from the side of the Tekapo Springs.Took me 40 minutes to reach there. The view is awesome top there. I have been to different walks in the South Island and this is absolutely one of my...  more »
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  • Stunning views over Lake Tekapo & Lake Alexandrina. Every time we visit we find it awesome. It's a shame though what was a free activity during the day, started to charge. Started at $5 for your car & this last visit it was $8. Perhaps if you're able it's best to walk up the other side!
  • There is a cost to go up the road, don't be put off by it. The views are spectacular and make you proud to be a kiwi. Science and scenery combine for breathtaking view. The cafe is pretty standard cabenet fare and coffees.
  • We all loved the walk from the lake to the top, even with some snow on the ground. Amazing view!
  • A must do place if you are near Lake Takapo. Great view! On cloud 9! Gate closes at 5pm
  • Amazing view. U can basically see 360 of view all around u. Highly recommended