Lake Tekapo is not only a feast for the eyes but Tekapo Village is also a haven for food enthusiasts. But with all the different restaurants in Lake Tekapo it might feel a bit overwhelming to search all the options separately. Therefore I’m here to help! I’ve compiled this complete guide of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo, the best cafes in Lake Tekapo for breakfast and lunch and amazing options for restaurants in Lake Tekapo with a view. So if you don’t know where or what to eat in Lake Tekapo, then you will after these mouthwatering recommendations!
Best Restaurants in Lake Tekapo for lunch and dinner
Dark Sky Diner
Combine your love for astronomy and good food at the Dark Sky Project Diner. This unique establishment located on the Tekapo lakefront, serves delicious South American-inspired dishes. With their floor-to-ceiling windows, you are assured of spectacular views from every table.
Make sure to also book their Dark Sky Astronomy experience to learn more about the secrets of the night sky in the Dark Sky Experience. Because this is a very popular thing to do in Lake Tekapo, it is highly recommended to book in advance to secure your entry to Lake Tekapo’s top family attraction. It is the perfect way to combine eating at one of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo with an interactive experience.
Address: 1 Neil Anderson Way
Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 3 pm – 9 pm. But dinner service begins at 4.30 pm
Price range: Around NZD 30 for a main dish
Specialty: South American-inspired food and breathtaking views
TLV Restaurant and Bar
TLV stands for Tekapo Lake View, and in this case, the name says it all! This beautiful new Lake Tekapo restaurant overlooking the lake serves fine food and drinks in a modern setting. With freshly made hand-picked ingredients, the food at TLV restaurant is finger-licking good. Add the lovely atmosphere and helpful staff, and you are assured of an amazing eating-out experience.
Address: 7 Motuariki Lane, behind Outside Sports shop
Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 12 pm
Price range: Breakfast and lunch starts at NZD 20 and dinner NZD 39
Specialty: Venison steak and of course the views!
Ramen Tekapo is another great takeaway restaurant in Lake Tekapo. Focussing on Japanese and Thai food and specialized in Ramen, this is the place to go if you crave Asian food. We ordered Thai takeaway food and the portion was very big and rich in taste. Make sure to arrive on time because a line is often waiting outside to order for takeaway.
Address: 120 Main Road
Opening hours: Friday to Monday 12 pm – 2 pm & 5 pm – 8 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm
Price range: Mains start from around NZD 20
Specialty: Ramen noodles
MacKenzies Cafe Bar and Restaurant
McKenzies Restaurant has some of the best quality food, ambiance, and value for money in Lake Tekapo. Although it is not the cheapest option, the meal portions are generous and of very high quality. If you love cooking your steak on stone, then this is the place to go. Just remember that there is a time limit on tables, and it’s not just for walk-ins. But with good weather the outdoor terrace is in use as well, allowing more customers to enjoy the restaurant.
Address: State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday11.00 am – 8 pm
Price range: Around NZD 40 for a main course
Specialty: Stone grill
Blue Lake Eatery and Bar
Blue Lake Eatery & Bar is a modern restaurant in Lake Tekapo offering a wide range of local food, wines, craft beer & spirits. With a seasonal menu, you can always expect the freshest and finest local ingredients. It is one of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo if you’re looking for a classic New Zealand dish. Depending on the season, there is Mount Cook Salmon, Canterbury Lamb Shank or Canter Valley Duck Leg on the menu. Beautifully presented it almost feels like fine dining. The cozy and bright restaurant is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring Lake Tekapo. And in the winter months, the warm open fire adds a lot of charm to the atmosphere.
Address: State Highway 8 along the Main Road
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 4 pm
Price range: NZD 35 for a main course
Specialty: Typical New Zealand food
Where to stay in Lake Tekapo
Kohan Japanese Restaurant
Kohan Restaurant serves the best sushi of Lake Tekapo. And although we haven’t tried all sushi restaurants in New Zealand, I have eaten a lot of sushi in other countries. With certainty I can say that this was one of the best sushi’s I’ve had! It’s a great place for a takeaway, but dining in is also possible and offers great views over Lake Tekapo. However, the restaurant itself is not the most cosy place to eat with very basic interior. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, because the food is really good. Therefore I would to order takeaway sushi and enjoy your food at the lakeshore on one of the picnic tables. Please remember to pack in what you pack out and leave no trash behind.
Address: 6 Rapuwai Lane
Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday and Friday & Saturday from 11.30 am – 2 pm, 6 pm – 8.30 pm. Thursday closed. Sunday from 11.30 am – 2 pm.
Price range: A Bento box starts from NZD 42 and a sushi roll starts from NZD 16
Best Cafes in Lake Tekapo for breakfast and coffee
Greedy Cow Cafe
The Greedy Cow Cafe is the place to go for a coffee, quick breakfast or lunch. Their huge variety of cabinet food is the perfect place to grab a takeaway lunch. And their freshly made pastries are the perfect treat to accompany your delicious coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The Greedy Cow Cafe is one of the best places for a coffee in Lake Tekapo and with their outdoor picnic tables it is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee in the sun.
Address: 16 Rapuwai Lane
Opening hours: 7:30 am – 4 pm (but the kitchen closes at 2:30 pm)
Price range: NZD 13,50 for the cheapest food and NZD 5,50 for coffee
Jack Rabbit is a stylish café with spectacular views of Lake Tekapo. Here you can enjoy delicious coffee, great breakfast and lunch as well as a a huge variety of cabinet food for a light snack or takeaway. Their menu accommodates diverse options suitable for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets. It’s one of the cosiest cafes in Lake Tekapo with stunning lake views. And with pleasant weather, you can enjoy their outdoor seating area as well!
Address: Neil Anderson Way at the Godley Hotel
Opening hours: Open daily from 7.30 am to 4 pm
Price range: Breakfast starts at NZD 15 and a coffee is NZD 5
Specialty: Coffee and the big breakfasts
At the top of Mount John with some of the best views of Lake Tekapo is Astro Cafe located. This cafe is glass-enclosed with a large outdoor seating area and is part of the Mount John Observatory. From the cafe, you will have breathtaking views of Aoraki Mt Cook while you can enjoy a delicious coffee accompanied with different cakes. There are also other savory options to suit everyone’s taste. It’s one of the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo to get a coffee and enjoy the stunning views.
Address: Godley Peaks Road
Opening hours: Daily from 9 am – 2 pm
Price range: NZD 5 for a coffee and
Specialty: Coffee and the breathtaking views
Best tours in Lake Tekapo
What you need to know about Lake Tekapo
Is Lake Tekapo worth it?
Yes absolutely! A visit to Lake Tekapo is totally worth it. The unique color of Lake Tekapo and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains make it a must-see destination.
How do you get around Lake Tekapo?
The best way to get around Lake Tekapo and see most of the area is with a rental car. If you don’t have a rental car, then you can also book guided tours that include pick up and drop off.
If you only want to explore the town of Lake Tekapo, then you can access most of the attractions on foot because Tekapo Village is relatively compact. There are also bike rental facilities at Lake Tekapo that make exploring the surroundings a fun and eco-friendly option. There are many bike trails that offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding landscapes.
How long to stay in Lake Tekapo?
The perfect amount of time to stay in Lake Tekapo is 2 days. This allows you to explore all the amazing things to do around Lake Tekapo and do some of the best activities. If you are really short in time, then a one-day trip is long enough to see the stunning lake and surroundings.
Where is Lake Tekapo?
Lake Tekapo is part of the Mackenzie Basin and is situated between the towns of Twizel and Fairlie. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, the breathtaking mountainous backdrop and striking blue color of the lake is a beautiful contrast.
Can you swim in Lake Tekapo?
Yes! Swimming in Lake Tekapo is possible, and many visitors take a refreshing dip in its clear waters, especially during the warmer months. However, it’s essential to be aware that the lake’s temperature can be quite chilly, as it is fed by glacial runoff. The water temperature varies, but even in summer, it may be cooler than what you are used to.
Can you drink from Lake Tekapo?
While the water in Lake Tekapo may appear pristine and clear, it is not recommended to drink directly from the lake. The water is sourced from glacial runoff and, although it looks clean, it may contain impurities or microorganisms that could be harmful if ingested.
What is Lake Tekapo famous for?
Lake Tekapo is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and picturesque surroundings. In the summer months, the shores of Lake Tekapo burst into color with the blooming of lupins, creating a vibrant display.
Lake Tekapo is also one of the best locations in New Zealand for stargazing. The area is free from light pollution, offering clear views of the night sky, and is part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.
Situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo, the Church of the Good Shepherd is one of the most photographed churches in New Zealand and draws visitors from all over the world. Especially in combination with the wildflower season.
Lake Tekapo also offers a range of activities such as hiking, kayaking, and scenic flights. The surrounding mountains and hills provide excellent opportunities for exploration. And besides that, the tranquil atmosphere of Lake Tekapo makes it an ideal spot for relaxation.
Why is Lake Tekapo so blue?
Lake Tekapo’s mesmerizing blue hue is a result of the finely ground rock particles, primarily glacial flour, suspended in the water. Glacial flour is created as glaciers move and grind against the rock, producing tiny particles that remain suspended in the lake. These particles scatter sunlight in a way that reflects the stunning turquoise or blue color. The combination of the suspended particles and the pristine alpine setting contributes to the lake’s remarkable coloration.
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for this kind of roads.
We rented for 6 weeks a Mitsubishi ASX model and were super happy with this car! The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. You can also check Rental Cars to compare at which platform you can get the best deal. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pickup date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a road trip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. Make sure to check if your campervan has a shower or not, because it might influence where you want to camp. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will give you a true feeling of freedom and fully connects you with nature.
We recommend booking your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Station wagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, a 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 roadside assistance & long-term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream road trip!
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best restaurants in Lake Tekapo. We have many more New Zealand travel guides, so make sure to check them out for more tips and to plan your next adventure in New Zealand!