In population, the Mackenzie District is the third smallest territorial authority in New Zealand with a normally resident population count of 3,801 on census night in 2006. Only Kaikoura District and the Chatham Islands have smaller residential populations. In the five years between 2001 and 2006, the population increased by 84 people.
In contrast to its small population, the area of the district is large, comprising 745,562 hectares.
Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Twizel are the main towns and there are villages at Albury, Kimbell, Burkes Pass and Mount Cook.