Mt John Summit Circle Track

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Starting from the Tekapo Hot Springs, follow the signs for the Mt John Summit Circuit Track which will lead you into a mixed forest. The ascent through the forest is gradual though steep. 

You will exit the forest after 45 minutes and find yourself in an open tussock grassland field. From this point, the track still continues uphill. Along the way, you will come across a gate which you will have to open and close.

At the top of the hill, you will reach a junction: continue right to follow the track for South Summit. The left side of the track leads to the Astro Café. 

The South Summit track allows you to walk around the summit of Mount John in order to truly experience 360 degree views of the Mackenzie basin, the stunning Lake Tekapo and the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

On the South Summit track, you will find a bench where you can sit and take in the views. You will also find an information panel naming the surrounding mountains.

The forest can be cold in the autumn and winter and the grassland is completely exposed to the elements, so it is best to come equipped for any weather.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 1.5 hour walk
        • Distance: 3 km
        • Difficulty: Medium
        • Bikes allowed: Unknown
        • Route: Return
        • Elevation: 311 m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: There are toilets in Lake Tekapo township and at the cafe at the summit.
        • Dogs: No
        • 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

    The track is mostly gravelled.

  • Hazards


  • Transport

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

  • Water

    Drinking water is available in Lake Tekapo township and at the cafe at the summit.

  • Driving Instructions

    Lake Tekapo township is along SH8, about 3 hours from Queenstown or Christchurch. The walk starts at Tekapo Springs, where there is a car park.

  • 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 Mt John Summit Circle Track

Here is the map for Mt John Summit Circle 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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