Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Grand Tour de Tekapo

Tekapo, Canterbury

Submitted by Geoffrey Smith

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 19 ?

Gnarl Factor: 19 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Plantation/exotic forest



Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -4.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







Head along the lakeside of SH8 until you get passed Peppers Bluewater Resort, then cross over the road and link up with the walking trail that heads up onto the bank bordering the road. Continue on this until it flattens out and then along to Tekapo Canal Road; be careful in the last 300m as you may have to stick to the road side as the track hasn't been continued to Canal road. Turn left down Tekapo Canal Road and continue through to the bridge over the canal, then turn left.

You are now on the Alps 2 Ocean alternative route. Follow along the road until it gets to the cycle gates that straddle the Tekapo Power Station Control Gates, push yourself through these and continue on the gravel road for about 650m. Before you start to head up what would be a second climb, turn right and follow a 4x4 track that heads towards the edge of the Tekapo River bed. After about 500m you will see a dirt single track heading up the bank, follow this up and continue along the top of the bank until you eventually pop out on the side of the new development of the town.

The track through this area is fairly average but it is about at this point where you think the track has completely disappeared, that you will need to head down through the pine trees and link up with the gravel road that heads along the riverside. This small downhill is the only unmarked section and can be slippery when wet. Continue along the track and up onto SH8, head over bridge and then turn right onto Cowans Hill Track.

Follow this around the few houses in that area and up hill and into the young Pine Plantation. This track continues up onto the open grasslands that overlook the town and provide really stunning views across the lake and Southern Alps. Follow the track until it links to SH8 and cross over the road about 500m towards town, link onto the mountain bike track and continue on the outer trails until you get up to the northern part of the park.

It's at the northern end of this section where you will link onto a new trail (Oct 2021) that heads up some steep technical trail for a few hundred meters, then as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down - yes you head down steep trails to the main trail again. You will eventually come out on Lilybank Road, cross over the road and follow the dirt track that follows between Lilybank and the lakeside. Continue along the trail until you turn right beside Pioneer Drive, follow the single trail behind Church of the Good Shepherd, around to the foot bridge and over. Then finally follow the gravel road round to the playground beside the Four Square and up to your car.

Run along the Tekapo Canal and past the Tekapo Power Station, along Cowans Hill Track, through the Mountain Bike Park and finish up with a run along Lake Tekapo.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Rapuwai Lane has plenty of parking, between the Four Square, Dark Sky Project and SH8.

1 km

1 minutes




There are a few trails within the Mountain Bike Park, which is why the outer trail was selected, just keep linking onto the outer trail and you will find yourself on Lilybank Road.

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, Cellphone, Headtorch and spare batteries

Best to carry your own supply as there is none available.


Getting yourself down the bank towards the river, when heading back into town.

The Greedy Cow Cafe
16 Rapuwai Lane, Lake Tekapo
Great coffee and they sell Fairlie Bakehouse Pies - if you feel up to indulging.

Trail Legend

Delphine Touzouli

Delphine Touzouli

has completed Grand Tour de Tekapo once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Similar to Jo B, I got a little lost by the new subdivision. There is also logging underway in the pine plantation. Otherwise a good day out!

Matt Rowbotham

July 3, 2023

I did it in the given direction and also had trouble at the bit by the new subdivision. Ended up sliding down a very steep bank on my bum. Rest was pretty easy to follow and mainly a lovely collection of trails, especially Cowans Hill and the forest. A fair amount of road and 4wd and it’s very dry right now so wish I’d worn road shoes.

Joe Benbow

January 18, 2023

Great little run around Tekapo! I ran this route in the opposite direction, running along the waterfront and up through the forest first (which was the nicest part), and then over Cowans Hill (also pretty nice) and then down to the Tekapo River. This part got a little sketchy, I followed the 4wd track down the river, and think I went a little far and missed the turn off, had to bush bash up a bank trying to find the track but couldn't see one, found a subdivision and ran along the fence line until it ended, and then found my way down to a road. This was definitely the wrong way! It might have been easier going in the other direction. The rest was mostly along the road (or a track next to it), and it went pretty quickly. I'll do it again and try to find the right track next time!

Laura Richards

March 23, 2022

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