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Popularly known for its glacier lake of the same name, Lake Tekapo is a super touristy town on the South Island of New Zealand. This charming alpine settlement is just about a 40-minute drive to Lake Pukakai and a little over an hour’s drive to Mount Cook. This makes it a great base for exploring both tourist attractions.
However, Lake Tekapo itself is a destination worth exploring not only because of the turquoise blue lake but also because it’s a major stargazing, hiking, and skiing hot spot in New Zealand. The town’s central location also means it has one of the highest sunshine hours and lowest rainfall rates in the country, so you get to enjoy more of its stunning landscape.
If you plan on staying here, it’s important to note that the town is pretty small. Expect limited accommodation and most backpacker hostels to be fully booked right away.
Don’t worry, though, as in this blog, I’ll let you in on some of my recommendations for where to stay in Lake Tekapo for all budget ranges. I’ve included the absolute best hotels in Lake Tekapo as well as bed & breakfasts and hostels too!
I’m sure you’ll find the perfect accommodation for your Lake Tekapo holiday right here!
5 BEST Luxury Hotels in Lake Tekapo
1. Galaxy Boutique Hotel
If you’re still looking at where to stay in Lake Tekapo and don’t mind spending a few hundred bucks, Galaxy Boutique Hotel is the way to go. This five-star property is the definition of luxury as it offers nothing short of a scenic view of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains.
The hotel’s exterior is just as eye-catching, too. The materials and palette used are in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape, giving the property a luxurious overall vibe. On the other hand, the interior design combines intricate furnishings and materials to accentuate the prestige of the hotel. I particularly love the elegance of the lobby and dining area with its velvet furniture.
As for the rooms, you will certainly be spoiled for choice. Many luxurious amenities await you in your air-conditioned room, including SkyTV, high-speed wireless internet, a mini-bar, and large windows overlooking the lake.
While all of the rooms have almost the same facilities, the upper units are my personal favorite. And it’s primarily because of the splayed skylight above the bed that makes stargazing more convenient and romantic. Galaxy Boutique Hotel caters to families, too. You can book a two-bedroom suite for more space.
You can find the hotel about 500 meters (1,600 ft) from the Tekapo Village Center. Rates here start at $525 NZD to $672 NZD per night for double occupancy, inclusive of continental breakfast.
2. Tekapo Heights
You can never go wrong with booking a stay at Tekapo Heights, especially if what you’re after is stunning lake and mountain views paired with superb accommodation. While it isn’t exactly on the lakefront, this luxury stay offers guests refreshing vistas of the surrounding landscape.
It’s also just a ten-minute walk from the town center, where you can find most of the restaurants and shops, so bonus points for a convenient location.
What I love about Tekapo Heights is how simple but elegant the suites look. Each one is thoughtfully appointed with high-end amenities for your entertainment and comfort. You have a flat-screen satellite TV with Nextflix, tea and coffee maker, fridge, free Wi-Fi, and even personalized room service!
My favorite part, however, is the private patio that opens to the garden and provides nice (although partial) views of the lake and mountains. You can choose from four room types on the property: Matariki, Takurua, Tautoru, and Mahutonga.
I recommend the Matariki room if you really want to indulge. With French doors, full-length tinted windows, and a vaulted ceiling, you will surely be in for a treat. This room starts at a nightly rate of $225 NZD, while the larger/high-end rooms start at $350 NZD.
You should secure your room at Tekapo Heights well in advance online to avoid missing out.
3. The Mackenzie Suites
Offering luxury in a natural alpine setting, The Mackenzie Suites is one of the best hotels in Lake Tekapo to experience the town’s scenic lake and mountain views. This boutique property is about 600 meters (2,000 feet) from the village and a ten-minute stroll to the lake. If you’re arriving by bus, they can arrange a complimentary pickup and drop-off service to and from Tekapo Village.
The Mackenzie Suites doesn’t have much when it comes to on-site amenities, but you’ll be treated to nothing but luxury in your private air-conditioned apartment. To make your stay as pleasant as possible, each suite is furnished with top-of-the-line facilities. You can find a well-equipped kitchenette in the room, complete with a fridge and stone benches. There is also a separate bedroom and living area, on top of a furnished patio, where you can enjoy the lake views.
If you want to take it a step further, I highly suggest booking the Superior Suite. This is a honeymoon suite that features 270-degree views of the lake and the surrounding landscape. You have a rear stargazing deck at your disposal for a romantic night under the southern night sky. The Superior Suite also boasts a thru-wall gas fire, a huge bathtub, and vintage leather furniture.
A night’s stay at The Mackenzie Suites for two people costs from $249 NZD. You can check availability and book online here in advance.
4. Peppers Bluewater Resort
Standing on the lakefront, Peppers Bluewater Resort exudes romance and seclusion from every angle. Although it sits close to the town center (about a two-minute drive away), you’ll feel like you’re away from it all. Add this to the fact that the lake is a mere three-minute walk away, and you have a romantic getaway that isn’t too heavy on your budget.
Apart from Peppers’ strategic location, I truly love the simplicity of its villas. Each one is tastefully decorated in natural tones that complement the surrounding landscape. You’ll see warm earthy shades of cream, beige, brown, and blue mixed in with the modern en-suite amenities like cable TV, fridge, coffee-making facilities, and Wi-Fi.
Most of the villas feature a private balcony, where you can sip your morning cup of tea while overlooking the turquoise lake. If you’re bringing your friends and family, Peppers has a three-bedroom villa that boasts an open-plan dining and lounge area and a gas fireplace.
Outside your room, Peppers is ready to spoil you rotten with its top-of-the-line Rakinui Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant also overlooks the lake, so while you’re digging into the sumptuous meal made of farm-to-table ingredients, you can enjoy the gorgeous views of Lake Tekapo. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Tekapo!
Rates start at $247 NZD to $1,250 NZD per night, inclusive of breakfast. You can check the rates for your desired dated and book Peppers online in advance here.
5. Mantra Lake Tekapo
Mantra Lake Tekapo might not be the most luxurious accommodation in town, but it sure offers a stunning mountain backdrop in a natural alpine setting. It is a bit of a walk from the restaurants and shops in the town center, though. The closest dining option is Jack Rabbit Cafe, which is a nine-minute walk.
As for the amenities offered on the property, you’ll be happy to know that you can enjoy the outdoors at the Mantra whether it’s summer or winter. In the summer, feel free to dive into the swimming pool, grill some meat in the BBQ facilities, and camp around in the huge outdoor fireplace. In the winter, the hotel has a steamy outdoor hot tub, where you can relax while taking in the beauty of the snow-capped Southern Alps in the distance.
The accommodations in Mantra consist of self-contained apartments in a split-level townhouse design with either two or three bedrooms. Both options are outfitted with standard amenities, such as flat-screen TV, kitchen, fireplace, and my favorite amenity, a balcony/patio opening up to the courtyard. If an elevated experience is what you want, I recommend booking the three-bedroom deluxe apartment that comes with two luxurious full bathrooms.
Mantra’s one-bedroom apartment costs $286 NZD a night, while the three-bedroom deluxe apartment costs $388 NZD per night. You can check availability and book the Mantra online here.
Related Read: Be sure not to miss any of the best stops on the drive from Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook!
5 BEST Cheap Hotels (and hostels in Lake Tekapo)
1. Lakefront Lodge Backpackers
Built with wood and stone to naturally blend into the environment, Lakefront Lodge Backpackers is one of my go-to Lake Tekapo hotels when I want to experience some luxury without paying steep rates. It’s just by the lakeshore, a mere ten-minute stroll away from the village and the shops, and offers you unmatched mountain views.
The property is fully furnished with the standard amenities you can find in a hotel and hostel. There’s a shared kitchen on-site, complete with kitchenware, cooking ranges, a fridge, microwave, and tables and chairs. If you prefer dining under the sun, the courtyard is always open for picnics. It has some BBQ facilities facing the lake, so you can dine while taking in the view.
For those lazy afternoons, I love hanging out in the massive common room that has large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the lake. You can even find a wood-burner fire in the room, perfect for movie nights!
The entire Lakefront Lodge can accommodate over 70 people in a variety of rooms. You can choose from dorm rooms, stand-alone private units, or glamping tents outside. The dorm rooms come complete with a heater, a BBQ area, and comfy linen, duvets, and pillows. Meanwhile, the private cabins have an en-suite shower and toilet and a kitchenette for preparing simple meals and drinks.
2. Lake Tekapo Cottages
If it’s privacy and space that you’re after, I know exactly where you should stay in Lake Tekapo: the Lake Tekapo Cottages. Just as its name implies, Lake Tekapo Cottages are composed of self-contained and secluded units, tucked away between towering trees at 12 Sealy Street.
It’s only five minutes by foot to the village shops and restaurants via the footbridge, but staying here feels like you’re miles away from all the hustle and bustle. I also love how visible the mountains are from the cottages, giving them a sense of tranquility that most Lake Tekapo hotels can’t offer.
All of the units in the property are well-appointed with either a kitchen or kitchenette, a private bathroom, free internet connection, free parking, and relaxing sundecks. You can find the cottages in a garden-like setting close to the lake.
If you’re traveling solo or with your partner, I cannot recommend the Honeymoon Suite enough. It’s a large one-bedroom cottage that’s tastefully furnished to make your stay comfortable. What I like about this cottage is its spacious balcony that looks out to the rural area and the mountains. Gorgeous in every angle!
For the holiday home, the Birch is a good option for big families. It has three bedrooms and sits in a tree-lined cul-de-sac, giving you more privacy and peace. The home comes complete with a living room outfitted with a flatscreen TV with SKY and Freeview channels, too!
The cheapest unit on the property is the Pottingshed for $162 NZD per night, while the most expensive one is the Little Birch for $257 NZD per night, both are for double occupancy. You can check availability and book Tekapo Cottages online here.
3. Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park
Looking to commune with nature while visiting the town? Then, one of the best hotels in Lake Tekapo for you is Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park.
This holiday park made me fall in love not only because it’s a quick one-minute car ride to the village and a ten-minute walk to the shops and services but also because it’s right on the shores of the lake itself! You can see the towering mountains reflected on the turquoise water, and stargazing here is absolutely unmatched.
But it’s not just about the location that makes Lake Tekapo Holiday Park special. There is a lot to say about its on-site amenities, too. There are two shared kitchen areas on the property, complete with ovens, a fridge, toasters, and tables and chairs. You do have to bring cutlery, plates, and pots, though. Right in front of the main kitchen block is also some BBQ grills, which are free to use.
If you head to the main facilities block, you will find large-capacity laundry facilities, hot-water showers, and a small playground for little kids. There is also a second playground near the lake for older kids. Inside the main building is a shared comfy lounge, where you can watch movies and sports channels with fellow guests.
You can choose from a wide variety of rooms at this holiday park, from cabins to family units. Each one is outfitted with cooking facilities, TV, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. I highly recommend staying in the Kiwi Bach room if you’re bringing your family along. This has three bedrooms, full cooking facilities, and your very own BBQ. I mostly love its private lounge that opens out onto a sunny deck.
If you want to stay out of the rooms, you can bring your RV or campervan with you and stay in one of the three types of powered sites on the property. In my opinion, the best one is the Sealed Lakeview Site, where you have unparalleled views of Lake Tekapo.
In the summer, it’s best to go glamping, though. The holiday park boasts five different tents that will really bring you closer to nature. It’s just like camping but without all the hassles. Plus, you get to enjoy sleeping under the gorgeous night sky!
The camping site rates at the holiday park start from $27 NZD, while the cabins start at $157 NZD per night. You can check availability and book online here!
4. Stay in Tekapo Backpackers
Centrally located in the town, Stay In Tekapo Backpackers is exactly where you want to stay in Lake Tekapo if you want to be close to a variety of restaurants. From the hostel, you can easily walk to Dark Sky Diner, Ramen Tekapo, and TVL Restaurant and Bar.
If you don’t feel like walking, the hostel has a few bikes for hire, so feel free to grab those. There are BBQ facilities and a shared kitchen on-site, too, in case you’re up for a homemade meal. Some of the other amenities you can find right on the property are a communal dining room for eating and chatting with other guests, a lounge with Sky TV for your entertainment needs, and a garden with outdoor furniture for the days when you just feel like chilling.
When it comes to the rooms, the en-suite amenities are just in-line with the price point. The rooms have an oven, sofa, and view of the courtyard, all for as low as $38 NZD per night for the dorm rooms and $152 NZD per night for the economy quadruple room.
5. Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation
Set in a luscious and expansive garden, Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation is easily one of the best hotels in Lake Tekapo for guests wanting a cozy stay without the hefty price tag. It is a locally owned self-catering boutique hostel and guesthouse is only a three-minute walk from the town center, about five minutes on foot from the Cairns Golf Course, and five minutes by car from Tekapo Springs and the Church of the Good Shepherd.
But while this charming guesthouse puts you within close range of the shops and services, I like that it’s in a quiet corner, so you can still enjoy some time away from the crazy crowds.
On top of its nice location, what sets Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation from the rest of the Lake Tekapo hotels is its unique no-bunk rooms. You won’t find a single bunk bed here! This gives the units a very airy and cozy feel, so even if they don’t have many en-suite amenities, you will find yourself wanting to spend the whole day in the room.
I also love how pet-friendly Tailor Made is. Although not all rooms welcome pets, you can easily contact the hostel to inform them that you want a pet-friendly unit.
There is a wide range of on-site amenities at the guesthouse, so you’re guaranteed to have a comfortable stay. Want a chill afternoon? Head to the garden and sink into one of the hammocks. Up for a friendly round of tennis? Grab some tennis rackets and play a game on the backyard court.
Bikes are also up for hire at a discounted price if you’re in the mood for some exploring. Other facilities in the property include free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, a fully-equipped shared kitchen, BBQ grills, a kids’ playground, and a lounge with a log burner and book exchange. Did I mention that the hostel has friendly animals on-site too? And you can pet them anytime!
Tailor Made caters to all group sizes, from solo travelers to couples and families. You can book the double or twin rooms with private ensuite bathrooms for $108 NZD per night, and the private rooms with shared bathrooms from $86 NZD. You can check availability and details of all rooms ar Tailor Made online here!
Related Read: Be sure to read our guide about the best things to do in Tekapo, NZ while you’re there!
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually purchase it as soon as we land in the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
Now you know about the ten absolute places to stay in Lake Tekapo! These are the top-rated Tekapo hotels for all budgets – so I’m sure you’ve found something suitable.
If you found this blog helpful, check out some of my related blog articles below: