Southern Alps Region
Also known as the ‘MacKenzie Country’, the region is named after Jock MacKenzie, an infamous Scottish sheep rustler. This region is home to the country’s highest mountains and largest glaciers and its hydro lakes also supply electricity to many of New Zealand’s cities and towns. As well as the amazing scenery the legendary hospitality from the locals will make your stay memorable.
Standing at 3,754 metres above sea level, Mount Cook (also known as ‘Aoraki’, meaning Cloud Piercer) is New Zealand’s highest mountain and is a Mecca for any mountaineer. Situated in Mt Cook National Park this alpine paradise is also home to numerous glaciers and various walking tracks. Land on the Tasman Glacier in a ski plane, hire a guide and give mountain climbing a try, explore one of the alpine walks or look for the Mount Cook lily (the largest buttercup in the world). The quaint Mt Cook Village is a popular spot for visitors to stop and rejuvenate where there are various tours, attractions and accommodation available.
The picturesque towns of Fairlie, Kimbell, Burkes Pass, Twizel and Tekapo are interesting places to explore. Fairlie is a beautiful town, full of blossom in the spring and red and gold leaved trees in autumn. Twizel is home to excellent sporting and fishing facilities while the township of Lake Tekapo is the perfect place to relax, take leisurely strolls along the brilliant turquoise coloured lake and view the amazing snow-capped Southern Alps. A must see while in Tekapo is the famous Church of the Good Shepard, where its altar window frames a picture-perfect view of the Alps. Close by is the bronze sheepdog statue, sculptured to recognise the importance of the sheepdog in this mountainous countryside. Take a scenic flight from Tekapo or Glentanner Station for breathtaking views over this alpine wilderness, go skiing on nearby Mt Dobson, Ohau and Roundhill ski fields, in the summer season fish for brown and rainbow trout.
Other activities available in the region include scenic boat cruises, golf, mountain/heli biking, ice skating, horse trekking, kayaking, glacial skiing or simply meditate on the beauty of this alpine paradise.