Church of the Good Shepherd - Atlas Obscura

Church of the Good Shepherd

This charming stone church on the shore of Lake Tekapo is an icon in astrophotography. 


During the day, this church offers stunning views of Lake Tekapo and New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

When it was constructed in 1935, the church was intended to blend in with its surroundings. It was built with local stone, and any rocks that happened to be located in the wall line were left whole and incorporated into the building. The surrounding matagouri bushes and other plants were also left undisturbed.

Because of its location on the shores of the famously turquoise waters of Takapō, the Church of the Good Shepherd has become one of the most-photographed buildings in the country. It receives an estimated 600,000 visitors a year, many of whom come toting photography gear. At night, the Milky Way galaxy offers a breathtaking backdrop due to the church’s location in the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve. The site is popular with professional and amateur astrophotographers alike. 

Know Before You Go

Entry to the chapel is limited to services for worshippers on Sundays.

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