Todays started with a minor heart attack when my camera wouldn’t turn on, a quick trip to a local camera store fixed everything though so it wasn’t too much of a big deal – not the best start to the day though.
Once my camera was up and ready I went to meet Axel at the Dunedin Chinese Gardens, the only truly authentic Chinese garden outside of China, every sculpture, plant and pebble has come straight from China while the design was fashioned by traditional Chinese gardeners in Shanghai for Dunedin to acknowledge the contribution Chinese immigrants have made to the formation of the city. It was overcast but that didn’t diminish the serenity of the gardens, everything was incredibly tranquil and beautiful with no detail being overlooked.
It was relatively small, or compact, so after exploring the garden I went to the tea rooms where me and Axel had some green tea and sampled some of the bits and pieces they offer, from dumplings, steam buns and, of course, fortune cookies.
We spent much longer than planned but it was a beautifully peaceful spot to while away some time reading and sipping tea.
Eventually we hit the road though, George and Cara had already driven off to Akaroa but me and Axel were taking a detour through the middle of the country to see some of the stunning lakes. First stop on the road was the Moeraki Boulders.
Just ignore my hair... it's a long story, and I haven't the slightest idea what it's doing
Some of the boulders have cracks while others have eventually shattered
It was sadly more touristy than we’d expected, and hoped, but they were great to see and snap a few touristy pictures with. We also timed it pretty well as we ended up there at low tide so we got to see them in their full glory.
After that little stop we drove for a few hours inland. The weather couldn’t seem to make up it’s mind along the coast, varying from boiling hot to freezing in the space of 20 minutes, in land was a different story, the weather had most definitely decided to be miserable. I personally didn’t mind too much as the misty weather gave the whole region a particular feel and it’s own sort of beautiful – it’s a bit of a shame though as I imagine on a sunny day the lakes would have been even more impressive.
The first lake we saw, excluding some dams we passed, was Lake Ohau. We didn’t linger too long here as it started to really rain, there was absolutely nothing around, and we really wanted to see the other lakes while it was still light.
Our first glimpse of Lake Pukaki
Then it was the turn of Lake Pukaki to take our breaths way, mainly because it was so incredibly windy here! But also because of the crazy turquoise blue of the lake.
Then we finally made it to Lake Tekapo and the village that hugs it’s southern shore. We knew Tekapo was always busy, and we knew we were coming into high season, and we knew we ought to book a hostel… but we didn’t. We rang every hostel, B&B and campsite in and around Tekapo but everywhere was completely full. We did a slight detour to the Good Shepard’s Church which was really beautiful and then, sat in the car we decided we didn’t like the idea of sleeping in the car so we head off for Geraldine another hour or so away.
The Church of the Good Shepard on Lake Tekapo
A statue to acknowledge how essential the dogs are in farming these lands
The drive to Geraldine was incredibly beautiful and I'm actually really glad we ended up going there instead of staying in Tekapo as the light was perfect!
The sky was surreal at times