The Mount Cook region – sometimes called the Mackenzie Country – is the high inland basin beneath the Southern Alps and Mount Cook. At 3,753m Mount Cook – known to the Maori as Aoraki, is the highest peak in Australasia and dominates the Southern Alps that separate Christchurch from Queenstown.
The region is known for its vast open spaces and golden, tussock-covered hills rolling towards the towering Southern Alps and turquoise glacial lakes such as Lake Tekapo. In many ways Lake Tekapo village on the shore of the country's highest large lake, is the centre of the Mackenzie Country.
Scenic flights over Mount Cook National Park or helicopter tours to one of its glaciers start from Lake Tekapo and are often less weather dependent than glacier flights taken from Franz Josef or Fox Glacier, on the western side of the Southern Alps.
Lake Tekapo's most popular landmark, the Church of the Good Shepherd sits on the lake shores and has a spectacular view of the Southern Alps framed by its altar window.
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