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Cowan Hill Walkway and Mountain Bike Track

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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 which 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.

Quick Facts

        • 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: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    The track offers stunning views of the blue water of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains.

  • Track Quality

    This is a well-gravelled track that is shared with mountain bikers.

  • Hazards


  • Transport

    Lake Tekapo township is a stop on InterCity’s bus network.

  • Water

    Drinking water is available in Lake Tekapo township.

  • Driving Instructions

    Lake Tekapo township is along SH8, about 3 hours from Queenstown or Christchurch. The walk starts on the eastern side of Main Road Bridge.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are shops and restaurants in Lake Tekapo Township.

  • Area & Track History

    Lake Tekapo was once covered by glaciers. As the glacier moved, it dumped large amounts of terminal moraine eventually resulting in the damming of the valley causing. The valley filled with water and formed the lake.

  • Camping & huts on or near the walk

    No camping on this walk

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

Map of Cowan Hill Walkway and Mountain Bike Track

Here is the map for Cowan Hill Walkway and Mountain Bike Track showing it’s location in New Zealand. You can change the view on the map to satellite if you prefer to see an image of where the walk is instead.

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Contact info

Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

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