Kiwi Exp. - Queenstown to Lake TekapoJuly 5, 2015 in New Zealand
We met our bus to Lake Tekapo with it's aged and moustached driver, Bods, who Alex instantly liked for his casual swearing and for playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' as we rolled out of Queenstown.
Whilst the sky was clear and the sun shining, the weather behind us was not so fair and we needed to get over the Lindis Pass before snow came in and potentially blocked our way through. However we made good time even with the highly questionable driving of some locals (Bods was quite direct in what he thought about this) and we entered the shadows of the Lindis Pass. From the summit you could see down into the valley below, which was largely covered in snow but for streaks of exposed earth. Like on our journey down to Dunedin, this made the hillsides appear like the flanks of a snow tiger.
We moved past the deep blue of partially frozen salmon fishing lakes before arriving before the proud aquamarine of Lake Tekapo. Upon the shore stood the Church of the Good Shepherd, overlooking the waters that stretched out to a distant shoreline where Mount Cook imperiously held back snow clouds on its shoulders.
The church was originally and largely built using materials within a 5km radius (although wood used in the construction had to be brought in from further out as none grew locally). It is of no fixed denomination so any religious ceremony can be held there, reflecting the ecletic religions of New Zealand. The scenery is apparently once of the most oil painted in the country and the land around the church was purchased and gifted to the local council to ensure no one else built there.
We later attempted to hike up Mount John for broader views across the lake and mountains but ice on the trail forced us to concede that it was too unsafe to do. Instead on the way back down we found ourselves helping a couple in search of their two young daughters, who we eventually found hunting for a rabbit, happily oblivious to their parents having kittens over their absence.
Due to reading poor reviews we had low expectations for the hostel at our bus stop but our efforts to find alternative accommodation were thwarted by school holiday demand. Furthermore when we sought a double bed rather than a dorm at the hostel we also found no vacancy. Yet our luck changed when after arranging with another couple, Northern Irish doctors, John and Natalie, to share a 4 bed dorm we found ourselves in a 'family villa' with two double bedrooms, our own bathroom, kitchen and Sky TV for the same price as a double bed. It was all very civilised compared to the usual hostel experience and we sat up sharing stories of travel and life back home over beer and wine. As the Kiwis say 'Sweet as'.Read more