Cowan Hill Walkway

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The Cowan Hill Walkway is an easy 1 hour 3.2k walk starting from Lake Tekapo Township.

From Lake Tekapo Township, cross the main road bridge and turn right onto the path on the eastern side. This walk starts along the edge of the Tekapo River, where you will be able to witness the rushing blue water, and takes you towards the plantation behind the township. Soon after crossing Refuse Tip Road, you will enter the forest. From this point on you will be following a poled track until the trees turn into open country. 

This track is shared with a 4WD track to a high point. Afterwards, the track heads downwards towards the open tussock grasslands of the Lake Tekapo Scientific Reserve. The Reserve allows you to experience the glacial features of the landscape, as well as the tarns and wetlands. From here, it is an easy walk to the Cowan’s Hill car park, where you may continue the Pines Beach Walk.

If you are in Tekapo in the spring between November and early December, you will even be able to enjoy endless fields of lupine in full bloom. This walk is a great way to experience Lake Tekapo, Motuariki Island and the surrounding mountains.

Enjoy the Tekapo hot pools after your walk

Especially wonderful in winter, but any time of the year is good, finish off your hike or walk in Tekapo with a soak in the hot springs. If you don’t mind what time you go you can get cheaper entry tickets to the hot pools on this link.  The pools are open every day except Christmas day. There is a great day spa and cafe, bar to enjoy as well. The hot pools overlook stunning Lake Tekapo.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
  • Time needed: 1 hour walk
  • Distance: 3.2 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Bikes allowed: Yes
  • Route: One way
  • Elevation: Unknown
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: There are toilet facilities in the Lake Tekapo township.
  • Dogs: Yes, on a leash
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
  • Last Updated: July 2021

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

Map showing the full trail

My friend Sally, very kindly shared her walk from Relive where she recorded it. While she was in Tekapo she did the St Johns Lakeshore walk and the Cowan Hill walk, you can see her 3d video of this walk below.

Walking map of Cowan Hill Walkway in Tekapo

3d video showing the full walking trail - well worth watching!

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What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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