TEKAPO, NEW ZEALAND
In the centre of the South Island of New Zealand lies Lake Tekapo. This highland lake and settlement at 710 meters (2300 feet) is in the heart of the Mackenzie District and surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock grass. The name Tekapo derives from Maori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night). Finely ground rock in the glacial melted waters give Lake Tekapo a beautifully unique turquoise color.
Lake Tekapo's geographical and central location is protected from rough coastal weather by the Southern Alps in the west and the Two Thumb Range to the east. This allows this highland location to enjoy some of New Zealand's highest sunshine hours and lowest average wind speeds. Rainfall is just 575 millimeters (23 inches) annually.
Summer or winter, snow-covered or golden yellow, the surrounding mountains and turquoise lake make a spectacular backdrop for the Church of the Good Shepherd. The unforgettable night sky reveals why Lake Tekapo has a reputation for clear air.