Saturday, April 14, 2018
We woke up in Christchurch, had a quick breakfast, and drove about one hour to Lake Tekapo. The drive had some beautiful mountains, but the surrounding vegetation was surprisingly brown. One nice surprise was an alpaca farm, but otherwise it was a good drive for the kids to do a little school work.
The arrival at the lake reminded us of a cross between Lake Louise in Canada and the Colorado mountains during drought time. The lake was clear and sparkly, but the vegetation left much to be desired. My guess is that this lake is most beautiful in the spring.
We wandered the lake a bit, had a picnic, and stopped by the Tourist Information, spotting a nice statue of a moa bird on the way.
They said that the hike to the Mt. John was interesting and that it could vary between 1.5 and 3 hours, depending on the route we took. This sounded about right, so we drove to Tekapo Springs and started our hike.
The hike started in a very dry forest, then continued to some dry grassland. The views of the lake and mountain were quite beautiful.
We stopped by the tiny historic church, which was very pretty, but it was also the main point for tourist bus disembarking, so it was quite crowded. There was a nice walking path, so we continued down it a bit.
At this point, we decided to start heading towards our cabin, stopping at Lake Pukaki on the way. As it turns out, Lake Pukaki is much more beautiful than Lake Tekapo, but there are fewer trails, and there was a wedding going on.
There was an amazing beach for throwing rocks, but due to the wedding, we decided that the boys’ favorite activity needed to be halted.
After wandering a bit, we headed to our cabin in Twizel. When we first started looking at our trip, there were a few family rooms left in Mt. Cook Village, around the corner from Lake Pukaki, but by the time we had our dates nailed down, they were gone. Accommodations were quite limited, so we decided to try a cabin at a Holiday Park in Twizel. The kids loved the first views of the Holiday Park, as 3 sheep ran over to greet us.
Unfortunately, all the rooms with ensuite bathrooms were gone, so we were left with more of a campground shared bath situation. The cabin we ended up with was probably less than 100 sq. ft., had a twin bed and a bunk bed with a full bottom. The room was so small, that we got only the stuff we needed and left all of the suitcases in the car. The bunk bed was super squeaky, and Jeremy didn’t really fit anywhere. The kids loved the playgrounds. There was one with a Ronald McDonald theme that had a super fun trampoline that gave hours of enjoyment.
We wandered around the lake a bit.
Then we went to town and had a nice dinner.
Next up: Mount Cook!