There’s a choice of two tracks – a steep one hour climb, or a longer gradual climb. I chose the one hour track which took 45 minutes with a couple of stops to rest the screaming calf muscles. The first 30 minutes of the walk is shaded by tree cover, the last 15 minutes is exposed*, the trees disappear to reveal the view that makes Astro Cafe well worth the climb.
Astro Cafe is open seven days, the food caters to those wanting light meals, snacks and drinks rather than full on meals, it’s the view that’s the main course here.
If you’re not keen on climbing for your coffee you can drive up Mount John during the day. In the evening the road is only open for tour buses to transport star gazers on Earth & Sky Tours. Astro Cafe opens for the tours, the glass roof and walls make it a unique place to wish upon a star.
*The weather can change quickly on any high exposed area including Mount John, sunscreen, water and warm clothing are recommended for summer climbs. Flat, sturdy footwear is best, I’m not sure how accessible the tracks are in winter, the Tekapo Springs Information Centre would be one place to enquire. Department of Conservation has additional information about Lake Tekapo tracks.