New Zealand Day Four: On To Lake Tekapo And It’s Deep Blue Waters And Star Filled Skies

New Zealand Day Four: On To Lake Tekapo And It’s Deep Blue Waters And Star Filled Skies

Previous Post
Next Post

After my long day of travel and adventure  visiting  Edoras I was able to sleep pretty good that night. I was again up early the next morning.  I wanted to get in one more walk before I left Christchurch. My bus to  Lake Tekapo was scheduled to leave at 8:30 a.m.  The skies were clear when I left my hotel and I  was able to make out the constellation Leo  in  the  morning  twilight. streets of Christchurch in morning twilight

It was late summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the early morning temperature was in the low 50’s. I walked past the now familiar  museum and botanic gardens and made my way to the downtown. museum lit up in twilight

I enjoy watching a city awaken in the morning  and there was little traffic at this early hour  in Christchurch.

I walked past the empty stores, shops and restaurants, wondering, as always, about the owners, the  customers, their families  and their lives. writing on shop window

I walked over the  Avon River flowing quietly in the dark. .Avon River in twilight

I made my way through the heart of downtown Christchurch as the dawn approached. clouds in twilight

I took in the various sights, statues, murals and so much the newly rebuilt city and to offer during this quick three mile walk. mural in downtown Christchurch

I wanted to enjoy another breakfast at the Classic Villa Luxury Boutique Hotel  before my bus left so I left this charming city with so much left to explore.  I wish I had spent more time at the hotel. It  was a  charming place. The owner Peter and his wife were the most hospitable of hosts.  The hotel was elegant and the breakfast delicious. Maybe someday I will return.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. New Zealand Day Four Christchurch morning walk. February 9 2019.Classic Villa hotel

After a quick breakfast I was soon on my way by taxi  to the Intercity bus stop. It would be the  first, of many, public bus rides on my three-week tour of New Zealand. There was some chaos at the bus station as the driver explained the bus was full and that I, along with many other passengers would have to wait for a second bus.

It arrived in about a half hour and I was soon in a comfortable  seat on a modern bus.  The bus wasn’t full so I had a seat to myself. I enjoyed watching the scenery as we drove along the same route I took the day before to Edoras.

We again drove out of the city, entered Highway One and drove over the Rakaia River , past the famous salmon statue.  This time we continued south and  stopped in the small town of Geraldine for a break . There were no bathrooms on the bus.  Many of my fellow passengers got a bite to eat or shopped while I roamed the streets of the small town. street in Geraldine

We continued our journey through mostly sheep, and some cattle, farms.  We made our way to the foothills of the Southern Alps. The landscape then  became hilly as the winding roads  neared Lake Tekapo. hills near lake Tekapo

And the highway soon took us to the shores of this  deep blue lake surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Alps. The scenery was spectacular. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to the lake. New Zealand Day Four. Drive to Lake Tekapo. February 9 2019.Lake Tekapo

It was around noon, about an hour later than  our scheduled arrival, when the bus  left us off in the downtown of this small resort town.  I had arranged for the host of the lodge I  was staying, the Lakeview Tekapo,  to pick me up at 11:00.  I called her and she soon drove me to my comfortable room with an awesome view of the lake. view from room at lakeview Tekapo

Once again I did not spend much time in my room. I quickly unpacked and was off exploring the lake and the resort town. My lodge was about a mile outside of town so I walked to the shores of the lake and followed a path to the town.

It was sunny, with temperatures in the 70’s as I walked along shore of the lake. There were many vacationers from New Zealand and foreign tourists as I walked the path above the lake.  Many of the tourists were from China. I learned many Chinese take a two-week  holiday after their New Year and many travel to Australia and new Zealand.

I walked past the famous Church of the Good Shepherd  built along the shores of the lake in 1935, dedicated to the history of sheep herding in the area, and  ,

the statue of the famous  Mackenzie sheep dog also  representing  the many dogs who tended the large flocks of sheep that were brought by the first  English settlers to this area.

I walked through the small resort town and its many shops, restaurants, and tour guides. I was planning to hike  up to St. John’s Observatory located on a hill on the outskirts of the small resort town.  I was told the views from the summit were spectacular. However, I was already out about 2 1/2 miles when I came to the trail up to the observatory and I was tired and hungry so I decided to walk back to my lodge.

Along the way I spotted a few finch-like birds feeding on some flower seeds.  I think some  were lupine flowers and would have been beautiful when in bloom.  They surrounded the lake and the birds enjoyed their seeds and the seeds of other weeds and flower along the trail.

The sun was stronger than I thought as I walked back along the lake and highway to my room. I was feeling it as I walked approached my lodge.  It was now late in the afternoon and I was tired and hungry. Here is a link to some more photographs from my afternoon walk along the lake. New Zealand Day Four. Lake Tekapo walk February 9 2019.

I was thinking about trying to  get some sleep since I arranged a three-hour night-time star-gazing  tour of St. John’s Observatory at 8:30 p.m. However, it was near already late afternoon so I showered and walked back into town to get something to eat before the tour.

I again walked along the lake and enjoyed the spectacular scenery. I was planning to eat at the famous Japanese restaurant but there were no tables available. I tried all of the other restaurants and not a single table was open. I would up eating at a small Thai restaurant and had a modest but wholesome meal of shrimp and noodles.

I finished eating early so I had some time to spend sitting at the lake. The sunset was obscured by clouds but there was still some beautiful colors on the distant mountains.

It was so peaceful sitting near this beautiful  scenery in these  remote mountains on the other side of the planet from my home. And it would get better that evening . I walked to the Earth and Sky tour office were I met up with our guides and our small group of nine people. We boarded a shuttle for the long climb to the observatory.

When we reached the top we were first taken inside for a tour of the active observatory.  It was originally  built  by  the University of Pennsylvania  in 1965. It is now run by the University of Canterbury and  has a number of telescopes including the largest in New Zealand.

We learned about how it is used in the MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) project, a  search for new planets around other suns.  And they did find some!!! It was an amazing presentation.

And then we walked outside under the cool, clear New Zealand mountain sky.  This area is designated an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of four on the planet. The stars and Milky Way galaxy were  unbelievable. They  can not be described in words or with photographs. The stars blazed in the clear skies and the Milky Way spilled out of the heavens. I had seen the Milky Way in the Outback of Australia. I thought then that was one of the most beautiful sights I ever experience.  It was even more spectacular here. The immensity of the Universe hung from the heavens. I was part of it. This photograph taken by one of the scientists gives you some idea of the beauty I beheld.

I could have watched the stars all night from atop that mountain. However, the program continued and we viewed some deep space objects, the stars and the moon through a telescope. Again, unbelievable was their beauty. It was sad to end out tour but it was a most enchanting evening. I was dropped off at my hotel around 11 pm. and slept with vivid memories of the Milky Way and the infinite universe in my head. Here is a link to some more photographs of my visit to the observatory. Mount John’s Observatory February 9 2019. 

“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.” 
― John Lennon

This is my first post