(Location: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand)
Day 9: To Lake Tekapo
From Queenstown we headed north, past disturbingly turquoise lake and rivers, to Lake Tekapo. We’d pre-booked a site, and it is a good thing we did because they were completely sold out. Our reason for this destination was that it is known for extremely dark skies, and therefore, a great place for night sky photography. It was colder than we expected, so we made a stop in town to buy Andy some gloves. As you would expect, wool is pretty popular here. Some stores also sold “Merino possum”. We’d seen signs for this over the past few days, but curiosity finally got the best of me and I asked what it is. It turns out that possum hair is warmer than wool, so it is actually a merino-possum blend. Eew.
Around 9pm, we detached from electric power and drove the van 10 minutes to the Church of the Good Shepherd. I guess we weren’t the only people who knew about this place – it was PACKED with photographers. Some were downright rude (setting up RIGHT in front of me – I mean COME ON). Others were just clueless (10 people shining lights on one guy who had about 20k worth of equipment that he clearly didn’t know how to use). That said, the view of the Milky Way here is unbelievable – as in – it looks completely fake. We will definitely come back here as well.
Day 10: To Christchurch
We started a day with a soak at the Lake Tekapo hotsprings. This was fabulously relaxing and a great way to start our last day.
Before departing Lake Tekapo, we took a short walk on the lakeshore. The area is covered with neatly stacked rock piles – we saw a few of these at Franz Joseph Glacier, but there were MANY more here.
It was an easy three hour drive to Christchurch, our last stop on the trip. The entire city seemed to be under construction, likely still cleaning up from the 6.3 earthquake in 2011. We stayed one night, and as we were pretty exhausted, we spent most of the time packing up and cleaning out the van.