Apologies for the absence in update, I write this sat currently in warm Brisbane!
From our last blog in Wanaka we ventured North to little Lake Tekapo, out in amongst the mountains was a petite little town with not much to do bar some hot pools overlooking the beautiful views. So of course, being a chilly trip in general, a toasty 38 degrees hot pool was a nice treat to warm the limbs.
Having done a little research prior to our stop in Tekapo, we had discovered it was home to one of the darkest night skies in the world – with very little manmade light for hundreds of kilometres around. As night fell the stars began to show face, a spectacular show of face and, luckily, little moonlight to dampen our view of them. Wrapping up in as many layers as viably possible, we left our camper and headed towards the lake to escape any manmade light. With some trial & error we were able to produce some beautiful photos of the stars that just about do the unbelievable night sky justice. As ever we’ll let the photographs do the talking, completely unedited – but give Katie the credit for taking them, the camera was firmly grasped in her hands for the majority of our short outdoor photograph cameo.
The next morning we opted for a day trip that was essentially going back on ourselves, but well worth it. The roads having cleared up in the snow department around us, we checked the road conditions online and were good to go. Mt Cook National Park was the destination. Just an hour or so each way (from Tekapo), it was quite astounding the amount of snow in Mt Cooks little ‘base’. We ventured around for a bit, took some photos and off we went again, stopping along the way for some fresh Salmon sashimi caught locally (makes my belly rumble for more just thinking about it). The next stop was over on the East Coast, Timaru.
Famous for it’s ‘Little Blue Penguin’ colony, everywhere online seemed to read as if it was very hard to spot them and they were very rare. We must have got lucky, as just after sunset, we headed to the coastline alongside a row of rock formations. Within moments we spotted one of these beautiful little feathery fellows hopping around the rocks, and seconds later followed another, swimming in and walking along to his little ‘home’ within the rocks. A fascinating sight and somewhat surreal to see the worlds smallest penguins in their natural habitat, also very satisfying to see them left to it – with their entire homely setting roped off to stop humans disrupting or unsettling them.
After a night in Timaru we headed to our final destination, a few days in advance to the return of our camper and our flight back to Brisbane. Christchurch. We finished our Summer NZ trip in Christchurch, so it was quite familiar to us. Feeling adventurous we booked up a ski trip for the following day. Setting off at 7.30am we were drove 1h45 to a ski area named Porters. With just 3 of us in total in our ski lesson, come the end of the hour tutoring – we were ready to hit the intermediate slope and have some fun! Plenty of falls were had by both of us (if you don’t fall you won’t learn, as they say…or something along those lines). Having started at 10.30am we skiied onto 3.30pm, the time flying, a good time was had by both of us, and we both returned unscathed.
Our final day wasn’t full of activities to write home about, mostly packing and cleaning up the camper! We did, however, visit the newly re-opened Quake City in the City Centre; with free admission (luckily) on the day we visited. Videos and pictures of the damage of the recent 2011 Christchurch earthquake, aswell as former earthquakes and more recent ones too. It all was very eerily real, and was all so close to home to many of the people visiting, a scary ‘fact of life’ for habitants of Christchurch. It can happen in a split-second and tear buildings down, at any time.
We loved our second trip to NZ, and were very glad we opted for a bigger camper with diesel heating! The cold, hopefully, will be a thing of the past. Atleast for the next couple of weeks, with our return to U.K. closing in on us.. eeeeek!!
Speak soon! Katie & Sam.