TRAVELED WALLS BLOG
Limited Edition Wall Art from Around the World
October 15, 2017
WHERE TO SEE LUPINES IN NEW ZEALAND
Finding lupines in New Zealand doesn't need to be a challenge, it really is all about timing. Though New Zealand's conservation department considers Russell's Lupines to be an invasive species you don't need to concern yourself with this as they aren't poisonous. Instead, they happen to be incredibly efficient at colonizing areas, which isn't so bad for visitors considering they're so colorful and fragrant. Lupines in New Zealand are incredibly abundant, but if you concentrate on the country's North Island then you aren't likely to have any luck spotting them. Lupine spotting in New Zealand should be done in the South Island, but they don't bloom year-round.
If you're lucky enough to be able to visit New Zealand between November and January then you're in for a treat. Lupines bloom from November which also happens to be when warmer weather sweeps into this magical country (this is obviously no coincidence). Despite this being late spring and the start of New Zealand's summer you should have no problem finding accommodation or car hire, at least from November until mid-December. Keep in mind that car rental is usually much cheaper if booked in advance. We recommend Rent-a-Dent but you may be able to find an even cheaper rate through Economy Car Rentals (excess insurance is usually much cheaper when booked separately through a non-car rental insurance company).
Snow-capped mountains all year-round
Though peak lupine bloom varies each year depending on weather it is usually a safe bet to assume it will be some time around late November and early to mid-December. The flowers have spread to many areas on the South Island but are congregated in masses in certain areas more than others. The sheer quantity of lupine patches around Lake Tekapo makes this the number one area for lupine viewing, but this also means that at certain times of the day you may have to share the well-known hot-spots with a couple of tour buses.
From Christchurch to Lake Tekapo is a pleasant but fairly uneventful 2.5 hours of driving. Just before you reach the vibrant, azure-colored lake you will likely spot your first lupines of the day, but these will soon seem very minor not long after you first lay eyes on the impressive lake. On your right hand-side before the turn-off to the Church of the Good Shepherd you should notice what is arguably the largest patch of lupines around the lake-shore. Park your car at the car park on the left and take your time exploring this area - it really is a magical scene with all different kinds of pastel-tinted lupines leading into the vibrant lake backed by snow-capped mountains. This is one of those scenes that only the best of writers can adequately describe; certainly a place where photographers excel.
Colourful and incredibly fragrant
If you really want to enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by lupines without any other people then visit this spot around sunrise or sunset, or simply walk further around the lake towards the town. Lupines occupy most of the shoreline in great numbers but unfortunately they don't bloom forever and their numbers also decrease with each hour via the feet of the very people who come to admire them. Hundreds of them are trampled each day making it essential that you time your visit earlier rather than later in lupine season.
One of the most stunning drives you can experience in this region is from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki, which is even more impressively tinted than Tekapo, though it lacks the sheer number of lupines at its surrounds. If you happen to visit the hot-springs at Tekapo on the way to Pukaki then be sure to wander around the shore there as other bright flowers share the land with the lupines making a stunning foreground scene. This is another hot-spot for newly-weds from many countries to pose for photographs.
To recap, the best time to see lupines in New Zealand is at the end of November or start of December at and near Lake Tekapo on the South Island. Good luck!
Abstract scene at Lake Tekapo