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What to pack for a weekend in Tekapo

New Zealand is just a baby compared to some of the other bigger players in the tourism industry, but by no means does this make it any less attractive. What our small square meterage does mean though, is that we have a lot of diversity in terms of what we have to offer our visitors. You could road trip from one end of the country to the other in less than 24 hours if you so wished, and in that time you might experience anything from a night out in Wellington or a bungee jump in Queenstown to a guided tour of Mount Cook National Park…in a helicopter. Sound awesome? Thought so. Decision to come to NZ? Easy. What to pack? Not so much…

So I can’t tell you what to pack for a countrywide excursion (if I did it would be somewhere between ‘absolutely everything’ and ‘a pair of Tevas’), but as a local I can give you a hint or two on what to bring on your trip to Tekapo.

1. Camera. This one sits at the top because it is almost certainly the most important. You should know that regardless of the weather there is going to be absolutely no shortage of photo opportunities. From snowy peaks and icy blue water to colourful evening sky displays and golden tussock land, Tekapo claims it. You’d be a fool not to snap a few pics, even if only jealousy shots for the folks on Facebook.

2. Walking shoes. Also very important. The summer I spent working in Tekapo, I saw a great many people ill equipped when it came to footwear. From teetering high heels (complete with furry Chanel bag) to the humble jandal, it seemed visitors were not prior aware of all the wonderful walking opportunities in the area. To miss out on these would be a dreadful shame, and I do not wish it upon anybody. Particularly when the best views are enjoyed with a bit of altitude. So I urge you bring a pair of sneakers, Tevas or something similar. Anything flat and comfortable should do the trick (this does exclude Crocs, I am saddened to say).

3. Layers. Ideally merino, but anything lightweight/wool will do. The weather in Tekapo goes from extremes season to season, but it pays not to get caught out (especially if you are visiting in between seasons). The occasional 5 °C day can, and will strike outside of the winter months. The best way to deal with this uncertainty is to pack thin items of clothing that you can layer for insulation. If you go for a walk it doesn’t hurt to chuck a jersey around your waist.

4. Swimming togs. Bathers. Swimmers. Whatever you want to call them. An evening visit to the hot spring spas is an authentic Tekapo experience that cannot be missed, so make sure you bring something to soak in as nudity is unlikely to go down well!

5. And lastly…you should pack a…HAT. Which type you ask? Probably both. Refer to point three, whereby I mention the unpredictability of weather. If you have a two in one hat (do they exist?) then you should probably bring that.

The key is to pack light, but clever. Don’t worry about bringing fancy stuff, the local restaurants are quite accustomed to serving people in rain coats with fanny packs and will not discriminate against those sporting socks and sandals (socks and crocs however…).

By Eva Izard

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