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

New Zealand Day 21 – Lake Tekapo

We woke to overcast but brighter skies this morning, with a small patch of blue sky that grew as the morning progressed. The cloud didn’t completely disappear, but it didn’t need to.  The turquoise lake with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains is so pretty – it’s spectacular.

We drove up Mt John to the observatory. The views from up there are amazing. It’d be great to do a night-time tour of the observatory and get to see the stars through the telescopes, but there is too much cloud around for that. The skies here are supposed to be extremely clear and starry – when it’s not cloudy. We’re here for another couple of nights but I don’t think clear night skies are in the forecast.

From there we drove back down and went to have a look at Tekapo A Hydro station. The canal leading from the power station is just as blue as the lake and very obviously a good place to fish. There were two fishermen trying to catch a rather large fish that kept jumping out of the water near them. I’m sure it was laughing at them as it jumped!

We had lunch in one of the trendy cafes in Tekapo and did a quick Internet check. We don’t have any internet access where we are staying. We needed to order a new modem so that there’s a chance it might arrive before we get home. Hopefully it will and Tanisha will be there to sign for it, otherwise we’ll be without phone or Internet for the weekend when we get home and we’ll have to pick it up from the post office on Monday.

After lunch we drove along the eastern shore of the lake, out towards the Roundhill ski area. The views across the lake were beautiful. There was sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The amazingly blue lake in the foreground and the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps lined up on its far shore, all a splendid sight.

Back in our holiday home we are sitting in the living room looking out the big picture window and over the blue lake to the gorgeous snowy peaks beyond and wondering how much of a view the place will have when the land for sale next door is developed. I guess there’ll still be the view of the peaks further south from the balcony, the bedroom and the other windows along that side of the house.

And now there’s thunder so we may yet get rain tonight.

It did rain a little but the sun stayed on the peaks across the lake until sunset. There was also a vibrant rainbow. As we go to bed it’s raining again, heavier and steadily this time.

Mt John Observatory

Mt John Observatory

Lake Tekapo Village from Mt John

Lake Tekapo Village from Mt John

Lake Tekapo from Mt John

Lake Tekapo from Mt John

Today's View from Highview

Today's View from Highview

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo A Hydro Station

Tekapo A Hydro Station

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo Rainbow

Tekapo Rainbow