Lake Tekapo’s is nestled in the heart of ‘MacKenzie Country’ – a vast, flat basin located high and deep within the Southern Alps in the central South Island. This lake’s water is a particularly striking and memorable shade of turquoise-blue that sets it apart from other alpine lakes on the popular State Highway 8 inland tourist route.
Segway Xtreme operates right on the lakefront in the centre of town with a fleet of six Segway ‘x2’ model Personal Transporters (PTs) fitted with large off-road, low-pressure, high-traction tyres that are surprisingly light on the environment.
With Segway Xtreme you can learn to ride a Segway PT with short “Fun Rides” on the grassy area between the shops and the water’s edge. Or take a guided Segway Tour around the lakeside to Pines Beach past highlights such as the little stone Church of the Good Shepard and the statue of the infamous sheep rustler James McKenzie’s dog – who dutifully helped his master herd flocks of stolen sheep into the then-unknown basin.
Because it is zero-emission and so gentle on the environment, this Segway Tour is the only vehicular traffic permitted by the Department of Conservation along the track to Pines Beach. Gliding along silently on a Segway PT makes it possible to enjoy how the shallow waters of the bay often provide a haven for black swan, scaup, pied stilt and sometimes even the rare crested grebe and black stilt.
At 710 metres, Lake Tekapo is one of several large, highland lakes in the area. The other prominent natural feature of the area is Mount John rising to 1,000 metres. At the top of this mountain is New Zealand’s premier astronomical research observatory, which benefits from the particularly dark skies in the region. Nearby, New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook/Aoraki (3,753m) peaks up from the Southern Alps. The alps run some 450km and form the backbone of the South Island, and are themselves some 3 kilometres high.