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2019 Tekapo lupins guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to 2019 Tekapo Lupinsew


Field full of colourful lupins (wildflowers)

Lake Tekapo

1 minute from parking



Best time to visit: November - December and when wind is lowest. Beautiful all day but we prefer golden hour.

Jandals/sandals suitable


  • Coordinates of 2019 lupin field: -44.015044, 170.502226

  • This guide focuses on the field of lupins right before you drive into Lake Tekapo (on the right hand side of the road when coming from Christchurch). To access this field, you can park on the side of the road and enter via the gate (the field is where you can do the Cowans Hill walk).

  • There are also several patches of lupins scattered around the shore of Lake Tekapo. Our favourite spots are usually outside the caravan park and along the shore near the Church of the Good Shepherd. We say usually because the heavy rainfall and flooding in early December 2019 has hammered most of the lupins around the shore (which is why this guide focuses on the field listed above!).

  • Another field we loved (on the way to Mt John Observatory [Godley Peaks Road]) is: -43.983300, 170.457074 (and we will upload photos from here shortly).

 best time to visit? 

  • Late November to Late December is typically Lupin season.

  • Our first piece of advice (above anything else!) would be to try and time your visit for a still day as the wind can make it very difficult to capture everything in focus. You can check the wind forecast here.

  • We personally prefer early morning or late afternoon here so we can take advantage of the light during golden hour (it’s a truly spectacular sight when the sun lights up the lupins - see our second picture above). If you do want to see a sun-sparkle, or the first rays of sun hitting the lupins, we would recommend sunrise as the sun rises just over the hills to the left.

 cj travel tips 

  • Early December is the absolute best time to find the lupins in Tekapo.

  • Spend some time driving down lesser known roads as bunches of lupins grow in different locations each year.

  • Take advantage of times when the wind speed is low, both for the lupins being still and for amazing reflections on Lake Tekapo.

 cj photography tips 

  • You can use a zoom lens here to create more depth in your shots. It helps to make background elements (like the mountain range) appear bigger and more prominent.

  • Unfortunately, it was too windy on all of our visits (wind was above 20kph) , but on a still day a focus stack would be incredible to keep all of the lupins in focus. It needs to be very still though as focus stacking is very time consuming when elements move. When they don’t, photoshop can do an automatic stack for you.

  • Be prepared to change up the height you shoot from. Shooting low can help minimise unwanted elements in your background, while shooting high is better to create depth. Just have some fun! 

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful for this beautiful field:

  • James says a bright dress/skirt for spinning in the flowers (which is weird because I don’t remember watching him spin in the lupins at all)

  • Your nose and a minute to stop and smell the lupins. Just delightful.

  • Insect repellent (we found them a wee bit bad here!). Probably only a 1 on the scale of non-existent (0) to Milford Sound (5).

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