Imagine a meadow so colourful you can’t help but pull the car over to the side of the road and snap a photo of this stunning South Island summer scene.
The lupins of the MacKenzie Basin are essentially a weed and considered a pest by some, while others will plant them on their farms and treat them as a well-loved member of the country side. The story goes that the lupin, originally from North America first made its way to the region in the 1930’s and then a couple of decades later, seeds were spread along the barren roads of the countryside by the ‘Lupin Lady’ – Connie Scott. Connie lived locally at the Godley Peaks Station and was instrumental in establishing much of the colourful landscape we now see during the summer months. Over the years the Lupins have thrived and now are the most popular photo subject during there peak flowering months of December and January in this part of the country. There may not be as much snow on the Peaks immediately surrounding the towns of Tekapo, Twizel, Omarama and the hills around the Lindis Pass Road, which offers stunning contrasting winter landscapes, but the summer Lupins more than make up for it.
Tekapo is located in the heart of the MacKenzie Country. There are a handful of hotels and motels which can be used as a base for lupin hunting. Just a few kilometres either side of the town you can find masses of the flowers covering the land. As a backdrop take your pick of the peaks of the Southern Alps, turquoise blue lakes of Tekapo or Pukaki or quiet meandering country streams.
For those travelling further South over the Lindis Pass, there is also the Ahuriri River with more Lupins along the river valley. This is along the main route between Christchurch and Queenstown and the view helps make the journey most enjoyable. The drive time is approximately 8 hours, allowing time for meal breaks and of course photo stops.
Apart from the Lupins, Tekapo is famous for its night sky vistas. The town is located in New Zealand’s first internationally recognised dark sky reserve. Of course you will also want to get that iconic photo of the Church of the Good Shepherd while there and in the evening I would recommend a visit to the Tekapo Springs Hot Pools. They offer three tiered hot pools beautifully landscaped into the rock of the surrounding hillside.
It doesn’t matter what season it is when you visit New Zealand as there is always something special to catch your eye in the landscape.
What: Russell Lupins – introduced to New Zealand from North America
When: Flowering from late November to January
How: Rent a car and travel from Christchurch to Queenstown – perhaps stopping overnight in Tekapo or Twizel
Thinking of visiting New Zealand – Inspired New Zealand Travel can help you with all your travel arrangements in New Zealand, but most importantly we can give you advice on the little things too like where to go to get the best photos.
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