10 Jan 2016

Wind strands visitors at Tekapo observatory

4:14 pm on 10 January 2016

Twenty seven people had to spend the night in Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo last night after severe winds made it too dangerous to leave the building.

Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo

Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo Photo: 123RF

Earth and Sky, which operates tours to the Mount John Observatory, says the severe winds suddenly started to pick up and a bus was called early to pick up the tourists.

General manager Margaret Munro said in the 15 minutes it took the bus to travel up to Mount John, the winds had become so strong it was too dangerous to walk outside or drive.

The 18 customers and nine staff spent the night in the cafe building, while the wind gusted at up to 180 kilometres an hour.

They were able to leave at 5am once the winds finally abated.