Lake Tekapo is the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand. The Lake is a photographer’s dream come true, with snow-topped mountains, turquoise blue lake and a captivating beautiful little church. Every year from mid-November to December, the beauty is enhanced by a colorful display of Lupins.
Russell lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) is an exotic plant that can grow up to 1.5 metres. It is a perennial species – that is, it flowers and sets seed in the summer, dies back to the stem base over winter, to re-emerge the following summer. Russell lupines produce long, colourful flower heads. The flowers are pea-like and come in a variety of colours - blue, purple, orange, yellow, pink, white or a mixture of two colours. The leaves, divided into green leaflets, are splayed out like fingers on a hand. Stout seedpods are produced that explode in the summer heat, releasing many dark brown seeds.
The Russel Lupins were introduced in the 1950′s by Connie Scott of the nearby high country station of Godley Peaks, when the seed was scattered along the exposed sides of the main highway. These tall spikes of color now grow in abundance along many roadsides, open areas around the the village, and throughout the scenic Mackenzie country. The variety of colors make the already stunning lake Tekapo area a photographers paradise.