Saturday 20 August 2016 – Tekapo, New Zealand
In my last post we were chatting about the beautiful Lake Ohau, in the McKenzie Country; this weekend past I was lucky enough to visit another beautiful part of the McKenzie Country – the ever popular Lake Tekapo!
At work (I think most of you know by now that I work in the travel industry) I’m lucky enough to be part of an intimate-sized team of four fun-loving ladies. Being in a small team makes it nice and easy to coordinate a quick trip away, so we headed down to Tekapo for a night.
A beautiful end of winter/start of spring day, we broke the three hour trip (from Christchurch) up with lunch just past Geraldine, where the highway goes through a bit of a winding valley – we sat in a nice sunny spot with views out to the surrounding hills which were dotted with sheep and deer. I had a “pudgie pie” which is a toastie pie – this was reminiscent for me, being something my mum used to make us for snacks (usually with piping hot cream corn); we were saying that you don’t seem to be able to get toastie pie makers anymore, they just seem to be sandwich presses that don’t deal the edges.
Carrying on down the highway, it wasn’t too long before we were treated to those beautiful views when you first enter into Tekapo – the beautiful blue water (particularly blue thanks to the glacial flour, being a glacially fed lake), and the views out towards The Southern Alps, which are still nice and snow capped (the best time to visit Tekapo, in my opinion).
We checked into our lovely two bedroom apartment at Peppers Bluewater Resort (the preferred option if you’re looking for accommodation in Tekapo), quickly whipped on our togs (bathers/swimwear for non-kiwis) and headed down to the hot spring pools!
The pools have a fantastic location down on the lake front – it’s not as big as the likes of Hanmer Springs, but it’s a decent enough size with three hot pools at varying temperatures. Nearby to this, which we didn’t do this time, are the options to go ice skating and even tubing (there is also a club ski field super close – Round Hill).
After we’d all had enough relaxing in the pool (and once our fingers all looked nice an prune-ish) we headed back to our apartment for a platter and (wait for it) sparkling water 😊 – seriously though, our manager brought along some lemon flavoured sparkling water, and it was AWESOME! After this and some of the new Whittakers Raspberry K-Bar chocolate, we were ready to head down to the township where the meeting point was for our Mt John Observatory tour!!
The McKenzie Country has the clearest skies in New Zealand, which makes it a perfect home for New Zealand’s largest observatory! The tour company, Earth and Sky, work in conjunction with the University of Canterbury to take tours up to the conservatory. I’ve always been a little fascinated with space – you might have read my post from 2014 about going up to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii (seriously mammoth sized observatories, some of the most important ones in the world), but sadly it was quite a cloudy night when we went up there and so the skies weren’t that spectacular; so I was SUPER excited to see how clear it was up Mt John – you could really easily make out the Milky Way, and the constellations (well, with the help of our guide pointing them out with his giant green laser pointer). There was a portable telescope set up outside, and we were also able to go into one of the permanent ones. It was all very very interesting, but also freezing and so we were glad to have the coats that were supplied, which are ex-Antarctic jackets (suuuuuper heavy).
It was really cool to be able to get this long exposure photo, which is included in your tour cost.
After the tour we had a lovey dinner back at Peppers, and a few wines. Sunday morning it was a buffet breakfast and then back on the road to get home with enough time to do stuff before Sunday Blues kicked in.
I highly recommend stopping in Tekapo for those of you planning to travel to New Zealand – it’s the perfect stop if you’re driving between Christchurch and Queenstown – just remember your snow chains if you’re going in the winter time.
Talk again next month, when I head to the World of Wearable Arts in Wellington!
Love Laus ❤️