Church of the Good Shepherd and Lake Tekapō. © Swiss Media Vision

The Church of the Good Shepherd: the most photographed church with the best views


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

In case you hadn’t noticed, New Zealand owes much to its sheep farmers. Especially in the South Island, where the high country is ideal for these little jersey producers.

The Church of the Good Shepherd honours those early musterers and paddock merchants who settled this particularly famous and unforgiving sheep-country region.

Is this New Zealand’s most photographed church? Most likely. But don’t go all ‘I’m an off the beaten track kinda guy’ on us, or you’ll miss out on something truly spectacular. The building alone – tiny, iconic – is a must see: its setting is unparalleled. The view through the altar window as it frames the Southern Alps is profoundly moving and, in this happy snappy age, one you’ll need to commit to memory. There is no photography permitted inside the church.

The surrounding area is known as the Mackenzie Country, and it’s real pioneering territory.

The church, completed in 1935, was built as a memorial to those hardy souls who settled and made a life here and, as befits their carving a life from the land around them, the church is constructed solely from local materials.

The stones were gathered from within an 8km radius and left in their natural condition. Bushes on the site were left undisturbed: the building couldn’t be more ‘of’ the landscape than that.

Nearby is a bronze sculpture of Haig, a New Zealand collie sheepdog. These guys did as much to turn the land to awesome grazing territory as their owners, and he probably gets as many snaps as the church. Woof!

Overall, this is a quiet, reflective place. But it’s also damnably popular, so you might want to arrive outside regular visiting hours if you want to grab a moment. You should. It’s life-changing.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Natural attractions

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park: home to our own Everest

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock, with 19 peaks over 3000 metres, including New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

Mackenzie: for lovers

Lording over the Mackenzie region, Aoraki Mount Cook has become a symbol for what could easily win the unofficial 'most beautiful region in New Zealand' competition. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

Lake Tekapō: shimmering beauty

By day, the view’s pretty spectacular – the arid splendour of the Mackenzie Country dominated by Aoraki Mount Cook. But you really want to be here when it gets dark...  Read the story . . . 

Mackenzie District Where to stay in

Stay in Tekapo Budget Accommodation

Lake Tekapo Budget Accommodation is a backpackers hostel located on the very edge of Lake Tekapo. With breathtaking beauty surrounding us everywhere you look, it’s . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

4.5 /5
From $110
4.5 /5
Colonial Motel

Welcome to our modern ground-floor apartments complex in the heart of the Mackenzie High Country. We have a choice of studios or 1 and 2-bedroom . . . More . . . 

From $110

Book now

Book now

4.0 /5
4.0 /5
Glentanner Park Centre

Glentanner Park is the holiday park and activity centre for the Aoraki/Mt Cook region. Conveniently located just 18km from Mt Cook National Park, Glentanner offers . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

4.2 /5
From $98
4.2 /5
Best Price Around
Mt Dobson Motel

Between Fairlie (5 mins) & Lake Tekapo (20 mins). Five ground floor studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units. One unit is wheelchair accessible. . . . More . . . 

From $98

Book now

Book now