From turquoise lakes, to golden grasslands, to snow-capped mountains, the Mackenzie Region delivers a veritable feast of stunning and varied scenery.
Nestled in the heart of the South Island, the Mackenzie Region is renowned for its turquoise lakes, golden grasslands and snow-capped mountains. Far from the bright city lights, the Mackenzie also presents some of the darkest skies in New Zealand – perfect for viewing the stars.
Added to the magnificent landscapes, the region boasts an assortment of activities and attractions. But it’s the friendly locals and relaxed vibe of its towns that makes the magical Mackenzie an ideal area to map out your next family holiday.
From snowy peaks to starry skies, we have put together our highlights from the heartland.
With the spectacular Southern Alps shaping the region, the Mackenzie is one of New Zealand’s truly breathtaking arenas for skiing and snowboarding. Roundhill, Ohau and Mt Dobson offer slopes for all abilities and adventure levels, making them ideal for family ski adventures.
Whether you have your sights set on the peaks, or whether building snowmen is closer to the level of fun you’re after, winter adds a whole new snowy layer of enjoyment to be had.
Just be sure to layer up yourselves. Winter temps can drop below 0 degrees Celsius overnight – climbing to 8 degrees Celsius during the days, on average – although the region is known for its clear sunny days throughout the year.
Fish to fry
Looking for a delicious meal combined with a unique experience?
High Country Salmon floats on the glacial waters of Wairepo Arm, and is situated on State Highway 8 just south of Twizel. Families can enjoy standing on the platform watching and feeding salmon, while taking in the atmosphere of the farm around them.
The café offers an array of fare to tempt all tastes – including, of course, a variety of delicious salmon meals, from smoked salmon sandwiches and bagels, to teriyaki salmon and salad, to salmon burgers and pies. There is also a range of non-salmon items, and needless-to-say there is quality coffee. For the complete experience, you can also take away delicious fresh salmon wrapped with ice.
In the spring of things
Tekapo Springs is the ultimate all-season playground for those needing to burn off some energy, and a haven for those seeking some downtime.
In winter the outdoor ice-skating rink offers a unique experience, with the thrilling 150-metre snow tube catering to those with a need for speed! Of course, after all these chilled thrills, what can beat a long soak in one of the three hot pools?
For those in need of ‘me time’ – let’s face it, that’s every parent – the Glacial Day Spa has everything you need to relax and unwind. Treat your skin with a rejuvenating facial or release that tension with a full body massage.
Try a Super Winter Combo for an awesome day out this winter – includes access to the ice-rink, plus a 1-hour ticket for the Snow Tube Park, and allows you to soak in the hot pools.
Stars in their eyes
If you or your curious kids are interested in astronomy, Earth & Sky is the perfect choice. The ultimate stargazing experience, Earth & Sky offers tours to a range of exclusive locations, including the world-renowned Mt John Observatory. Their night tours are fully inclusive, offering coach transport from the Village, warm jackets and even a hot beverage. The ‘Little Stars’ tour starts earlier in the evening, allowing littlies to gaze – amazed – at the starry sky.
If a night-time experience isn’t for your family, be sure to visit the Astro Café during the day, located at the summit of Mt John, just 15 minutes drive from Lake Tekapo Village.
The beautiful surrounds, pristine night skies, world class observatories and knowledgeable astronomy guides make each Earth & Sky tour
a mind-blowing and unforgettable experience.