Our story

Tekapo Springs is one of New Zealand’s leading tourism attractions, providing the perfect mix of relaxation and recreation in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Lake Tekapo. Our story is about a family who loved the wilderness and snow, who showed grit and determination in the face of challenges and never gave up on their plans and dreams.

It all began with a love of snow.

In 1973 Karl Burtscher Snr. and Audrey Burtscher bought Richmond Station on the eastern shores of Lake Tekapo. Karl Snr was a hard-working visionary from a farming background in Austria, an avid skier having been on the Austrian Alpine Junior National Team before competing professionally in America. The allure of a high-country station with an undeveloped ski field was an attractive opportunity. The Fielding farm was sold and the move to the wild Mackenzie Region happened in May of that year. Karl Jnr, the future developer and owner of Tekapo Springs, was 5 years old.
Early ice skating in Tekapo

A pioneering family

Farming in the high country and operating a commercial ski field was no easy task but the Burtscher’s worked hard. Freezing winters with heavy snow, and periods without running water or electricity meant the family of 7 had to be particularly resilient. However, there were good times too and the children loved skiing every day during the season – after their lessons and chores on the farm were finished of course! This combination of a hard work ethic plus a great love of the outdoors and snow sports, paved the way for Karl Jnr’s vision.
Construction of the ice skating rink and buildings, 2006

An icy beginning

The extreme but beautiful winters of Tekapo meant it was the ideal place for winter sports with New Zealand’s first official ice rinks created here in 1935. Fast forward to the mid-2000s when Karl had the opportunity to purchase the original ice-skating rink and land. His dream was to revive and continue the traditions of winter sports in the Mackenzie, from pleasure skating to ice hockey to curling. The official opening for the new ice rink was in June 2007. People flocked to the new rink with 12,000 visitors recorded in the first 3 months of operation.
pic 1: Construction begins on the hot pools, 2006
pic 2: The renowned views from the Tekapo Springs hot pools

Warmth to melt the ice

From this icy beginning came warmth in the form of hot pools, which reflects the warm hospitality of the people of the Mackenzie Region. Karl’s original idea had expanded to a vision of a year-round attraction for both local, domestic, and international visitors that would mirror the beautiful and natural alpine environment of the iconic region.

In January 2008 this vision became a reality with the official opening of three hot pools, a steam and sauna room with a cold plunge pool, a day spa with four treatment rooms and a full licensed café and bar. In 2010 the snow tube park was added and then in 2015 the complex expanded to include two cooler pools, and an Aqua Play Area.

Tekapo Star Gazing is New Zealand’s only guided hot star gazing and hot pools experience

Looking to the stars

Tekapo is one of the best places to see the stars in the world! Tekapo lies in the very heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest of just eight reserves worldwide. Karl wanted to add a night time experience to complement the day time offerings of Tekapo Springs, and Tekapo Star Gazing was born, combining star gazing with soaking in the hot pools. This unique tour opened in 2017 and is the only guided hot pool and stargazing tour in New Zealand. It was recently a finalist in the prestigious South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards and provides an amazing experience for New Zealanders and international visitors.

Values & purpose

Sustainability first

Tekapo Springs was designed and built with sustainability in mind. Sixty Larch trees felled on site were used for the main building at Tekapo Springs, and rock material unearthed during construction was used for retaining walls and landscaping. Native plants and trees complete the picture of alpine beauty.

The ice rink requires a large refrigeration plant to artificially freeze the surface. For every kilowatt of power used to run this plant, three to four kilowatts of free energy are created which are then used to heat the hot pools. The water that is cooled by the refrigeration plant when making ice for the rink is then used to make snow for the snow tubing park. Ice shavings from the grooming of the rink are also used to top up the tube park when needed.

When the ice rink is closed, water from Lake Tekapo is utilised to heat the pools. Water is pumped through the refrigeration plant, cooling it, then pumped back into the lake creating heat for the pools. This sustainable and environmentally-friendly use of energy means Tekapo Springs has an energy efficiency rating of 1:4.

The pool filtration system uses natural sand filters which means no toxic by-products are produced. WAPOTECH water-cleansing agents are used to ensure minimal chlorine to achieve fresh, clean and safe water.

What does the future hold?

Tekapo Springs has evolved into a sustainable, multi-faceted attraction that continues to delight both New Zealanders and visitors from around the world, providing memorable experiences year after year. Karl Burtscher Jnr’s entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and drive ensure continual development and evolving offerings at Tekapo Springs.

Further history on the Burtscher Family can be found in “High Country Stations of Lake Tekapo”, available from Mary Hobbs.

The Tekapo Springs water story

Our amazingly soft alpine spring water is drawn from an underground spring next to the Forks River two kilometers to the west of Tekapo.

This water originates in the Gamack range in the Southern Alps north west of Lake Tekapo. This water is exceptionally pure having been naturally filtered after travelling through kilometers of glacial moraine, sand, stone and rock before arriving at Tekapo Springs. Water testing laboratory “Hill Laboratories” results show our water is exceptionally soft, balanced and pure.

Tekapo Springs utilizes the latest modern technology in natural sand filtration to ensure our bathing water maintains its natural softness and purity. Because of our exceptional quality of water, and Tekapo Springs modern environmentally friendly sand filtration system, little water treatment is needed to keep our water balanced and soft. Our clever heat transfer system then brings that water temperature up to between 28-39 degrees Celsius for your bathing pleasure.

Our customers can enjoy an alpine bathing experience that leaves one refreshed and revitalized, knowing they have relaxed in the purest water mother nature can provide.

A little more History…

The original natural ice rinks in Lake Tekapo dated back to the 1930s and utilized this very same water source to fill up the natural ice rinks to make ice over the bitterly cold winters. The first rinks were situated down on the lake shore 150 meters away from our current location. The rinks were moved to where they are today in the 1980s as the lake level was increased for hydro electricity generation.

Today the same pure Forks River spring water covers our new refrigerated ice rink surface guaranteeing great ice for the winter skating season.

Fluctuations in water temperatures may occur due to environmental conditions.
We reserve the right to close individual pools due to weather, maintenance or health and safety requirements.

Copyright © 2018 Tekapo Springs
All Rights Reserved
Supplied by SPF

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Our opening hours are Weekdays (Mon-Fri) 11am - 7pm & Weekends (Sat-Sun) 10am-7pm, Drive safe!
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