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Mount John University Observatory

422 Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
+64 3-680 6000
Review Highlights
Outstanding views of Lake Tekapo

It costs $8 to go through the gates, but well worth it. Be careful towards the end of the drive as... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
Stunning views

We were quite surprised to be charged $8.00 to enter the winding road leading to the Mt John... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Read all 475 reviews
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  • Excellent70%
  • Very good24%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“mount john” (25 reviews)
“private road” (9 reviews)
“astro cafe” (16 reviews)
422 Godley Peaks Road, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
+64 3-680 6000
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Reviews (475)
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1 - 10 of 370 reviews

Reviewed 5 days ago

It costs $8 to go through the gates, but well worth it. Be careful towards the end of the drive as there's only room for one car at a time. At the top, you'll have an amazing round view of the Lake Tekapo area. Take...More

Thank dincytea
Reviewed 1 week ago

We were quite surprised to be charged $8.00 to enter the winding road leading to the Mt John observatory but once we got to the top the views were just spectacular. Looking down on Tekapo and the surrounding district is a sight to behold -...More

Thank Herbies1
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Doesn't open till 10am (or 9am in summer) $8 fee to use the road. Awesome views great photo opportunities. Would've liked a coffee up there but as there was a queue as just opened at 10, didn't bother.

Thank Karen S
Reviewed 1 week ago

We actually drove up to the Observatory for the Café, which is a must-go according to most of the websites, but we were left amazed by the view. Situated at 1,029 meters above sea level, you could see the whole town of Lake Tekapo, surrounded...More

Thank christmasweien
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You truly are doing star gazing when you join the guide tour up to the observatory at night (yes, only guided tours, you can't go up on your own at night) The guide will use a super strong laser pointer and point out the southern...More

Thank CookieBaby2010
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Coming up here to watch the sunset was sublime however later when it was dark and taking a tour is highly recommended. Seeing the rings of Saturn through the telescope was unbelievable, listening to the staff point our highlight in our night sky was wonderful....More

Thank ActionAdventurer
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Visit the astro cafe. It offers really great views! However, it is still a touristy place hence it can be very noisy.

Thank flyingdreamz
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I don't know since when this place started charging tourists for "gate fee"? Is that because the Chinese company doing partnership with UOC that wants to generating more $ for Chinese to takes off shore? When I was a student we always go there for...More

Thank Ruofan X
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

the observatory provided the best views you could hope for, no matter what direction you looked. It has a cafe however it is extremely expensive so we chose to eat in tekapo instead.

Thank Hamish S
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We drove up here mid morning to take in the view and have a hot drink from the café. It was simply spectacular. The views look like something from a postcard. Had a bit of snow fun and took heaps of pictures. Highly recommended.

Thank ustripfeb2010
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Nearby Attractions
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Questions & Answers
26 June 2017|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from ItsATouristTrap | Reviewed this property |
I am almost certain that the road is closed at night for light discipline reasons due to the stargazing tours that happen at the observatory every night (i.e.--vehicles carrying the tour groups must drive up the hill with... More
Anton G
15 April 2017|
AnswerShow all 13 answers
Response from NZerGuy | Reviewed this property |
There IS a walkway to the summit of Mt John. It's a loop track. Counter-clockwise takes 2hr to the summit. Clockwise, it's 1hr. I can't post an internet link, but try Googling "new zealand travel insider mt john walkway... More
28 June 2016|
AnswerShow all 10 answers
Response from MapleLeafGirl123 | Reviewed this property |
Hi, we didnt take the star gazing tour. It's $60 per adult and $30 per child for just 80 minutes. I nice local fella in Lake Tekapo told us a great star gazing spot is at the Church of the Good Sheppard. It was perfect... More