Churches have a habit of being built on the most prime land in a town or city – on top of a hill or on the main square. The petite Church of Good Shepherd commands picture-postcard views across the glacial waters of Lake Tekapo to New Zealand’s highest mountains and represents the first church in the area. Its striking turquoise blue-green colour (from suspended glacial rock dust or rock flour reflecting sunlight) contrasts with colourful lupinsand snow-capped mountains attracting many couples for a special wedding ceremony.
An endangered New Zealand Falconseems to have made the church’s crucifix its home commanding the finest views in the area and ideal for hunting the surrounding area. Its piercing gaze controlled the area, its eyes peeled for any opportunity for a feed, seemingly undisturbed by the crowds of photographers snapping the elegant church.
A neighbouring bronze collie statue (like Lassie) also has a permanent home commemorating the role that these athletic intelligent dogs played in developing the area as prime sheep farming properties.
The area has such clear skies that it has a major observatory on a neighbouring hill and specialised street lighting that doesn’t project its light skyward ensuring optimal viewing conditions for those of an astronomical persuasion (visitors can check out the Mount John Observatorytoo, but cloud cover prevented any chances during my visit).
Lake Tekapo is a quiet picturesque town popular with folks from Dunedin and Christchurch as a weekend escape with stunning views and a lakeside walk and makes for an ideal overnight stop travelling the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.