Lake Tekapo: So Tranquil It's Almost Offensive

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 23 2014 12:51 PM

Tekapo: A Lake Made Beautiful by Rock Flour

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

A great benefit of living on a planet with an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees is that when it gets dark and snowy and horrible in the northern hemisphere, you can always escape to summer serenity south of the equator. Herewith, an option for the next northern winter: stunning Lake Tekapo on the south island of New Zealand.

Lake Tekapo gets its turquoise hue from "rock flour," also known as glacial flour. This fine powder is made when thick, heavy glaciers move down mountain slopes, grinding rocks as they go. The glacier then carries this rock flour down to the lake, where the ice melts. The powder remains suspended in the lake water, giving it a turquoise color. 

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The calming hue of Lake Tekapo combines with purple wildflowers, sage forests, and dramatic, often snow-capped mountains to create a scene of near-illegal tranquility.


View Lake Tekapo in a larger map

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