New Zealand Day 23 – Lake Tekapo

Today we had a fairly quiet day. It started off very cloudy and the cloud was slow to lift. I did laundry, the last lot before home and we went for a walk into the village and back.Stephen turned his salmon fillet into sashimi.

After lunch we went for another drive up to Mt John Observatory and got to see Venus through a small telescope.  Today was a particularly good day to see Venus and Stephen was even able to see it with his naked eye.

As we drove back from the observatory we saw a Harrier Hawk harassing a swan on her nest with 5 cygnets. We turned around to go back for some photos of the cygnets and by then the hawk had gone.

Then it was into one of the cafés where we were able to log onto the Internet and catch up with email and upload another blog post. I’m only running 12 days behind! I do have a pretty good excuse, though; it takes me ages to choose the few photos from the hundreds taken each day, then I have to resize them and once uploaded I have to insert them into the posts. It’s all very time consuming and we’re busy having a holiday!

The sky was clear and it was looking promising for a good star-watching night so we went to enquire about the night-time observatory tour. There were seats available on the 11:30pm tour; it goes for two hours. That’s way too late for us. We have an early start tomorrow as we’re moving on to Akaroa for our last two nights.

We decided to drive out past the baby cygnets again and pay a visit to the Lake Alexandrina wildlife refuge. Two of the cygnets were out swimming with dad while mum was tidying up the nest with the other three. The wildlife refuge was a bit of a disappointment – we saw 3 baby plovers and a rabbit. It was just open bare plain. No real wildlife to be seen. And at the end of the dirt road was the fishing camp on the edge of the lake! No sanctuary for the fish.

As we headed back we decided to take a short detour to the local airport to see what was happening as far as scenic flights. We ended up taking a one hour flight over the Alps, around Mt. Cook with views over several glaciers, including Franz Josef, Fox, Murchison and Tasman, and of the west coast and the Tasman Sea.  It was fantastic. There were 6 of us on the flight and the pilot chose Stephen to sit up front next to him so he’d get the best view for photos.  The mountains looked beautiful. The late afternoon light was fabulous on the snow. The glacial lakes looked stunning. The clouds were rolling in on the west coast so the views of Franz Josef and Fox were limited but even the white fluffy clouds filling the valleys with snowy peaks poking through looked amazing from above. The views were indescribably superb.

What a way to end our visit to the Lake Tekapo region! The only downside was that Stephen took the flight company’s advice to adjust some settings on his camera for optimum photography through the plane windows. All of his photos came out very blue! They are going to require a lot of Photoshopping to correct them. That’s close to 600 photos! Luckily I took lots of photos with the little camera!

The Riverside Walk from Highview into Tekapo Village

The Riverside Walk from Highview into Tekapo Village

Tekapo Bridge Spillway

Tekapo Bridge Spillway

Highview - Our Holiday Apartment is the Top Floor

Highview - Our Holiday Apartment is the Top Floor

Swans with their 5 Cygnets

Swans with their 5 Cygnets

Mother Swan with 3 of her Cygnets

Mother Swan with 3 of her Cygnets

Mother Duck on her Nest with a Couple of her Ducklings

Mother Duck on her Nest with a Couple of her Ducklings

One of the Downy Little Lapwing Chicks

One of the Downy Little Lapwing Chicks

Tekapo Air Safaris

Tekapo Air Safaris

Inside the Plane

Inside the Plane

The View as we were Gaining Altitude

The View as we were Gaining Altitude

Braided Rivers

Braided Rivers

Southern Alps

Southern Alps

Southern Alps

Southern Alps

Above the Clouds

Above the Clouds

Rugged Peaks

Rugged Peaks

View to the West Coast

View to the West Coast

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Rugged Peaks

Rugged Peaks

Southern Alps

Southern Alps

Murchison Glacier

Murchison Glacier

Murchison Glacier

Murchison Glacier

Sheer Slopes

Sheer Slopes

Stephen and the Pilot

Stephen and the Pilot

Rugged Beauty

Rugged Beauty

Glacial Lakes

Glacial Lakes

Mt Cook

Mt Cook

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Tasman Glacier

Tasman Glacier

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