In 2014, a friend went on a random road trip and my facebook feed got spammed with amazing holiday pictures, "Heading to New Zealand this morning with a rough plan to drive from the south to the north and stop at as many tracks and karting venues as possible. Any other ideas on what we should do?".. and that was enough for me to decide that a New Zealand road trip had to go on the bucket list...
Last week in a rented MX-5 with maps in hand, I found myself in a different country and a plan to drive for the very first time from Christchurch to Queenstown via Tekapo, Wanaka and Arrowtown. Below are photos I took from Christchurch to Tekapo.
We checked into our hotel, had steak for dinner, bought supplies for the trip, I got declined a sale of alcohol from an 18 year old kid (even after showing him my drivers licence) and we found ourselves checking out the local fisherman's evening catch on the 300m long New Brighton pier before the sun went down.
Linda was brave enough to be my navigator, growing up in Auckland (the north island of New Zealand), it was also her first time to the south island. We joked about the idea of visiting the south island a couple of times, one thing led to another- she dished out a dare and me not wanting to back down from one, found ourselves road tripping.
Lush landscape and a mountain range as our backdrop. Perfect.
A three hour drive from Christchurch through the mountains ranges and we were greeted by all this!
We arrived in Tekapo late in the afternoon and hung out by the lake with a beer and bowl of fried chicken wings!
Linda was told that if heading to Takepo, we had to book ourselves a star glazing tour on top of Mount John. For me it didn't make sense "why? We could always just look up." She said it would be worth it, and made the booking. I suppose I got to drive through the twisties so it was only fair she got her star gazing tour. Man I'm so glad she dragged me along, above (center of the picture) is Jupiter and one or two of its moons. When Earth and Jupiter are at their closest to each other they are about 628,743,036 km apart (google told me). The Astronomers were kind enough to point a telescope to Jupiter (this part blows my mind) you could actually see the planet! An easy way to tell the difference from a planet to a star, is one twinkles ( twinkle twinkle little star) and the other doesn't (Jupiter).
Left of the picture is Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, and right of this picture the Southern Cross.
Also visible to the naked eye is our Milky way galaxy.
In the evening Mount John and its observatory is opened only for tour groups, campus students and it's astronomers. However, also at the top of Mount John, 1000m above sea level is the Astro Cafe. Opened for brunch, we went for coffees and stayed for its views.
Straight out of a car magazine.
At the peak of Mount John you get an awe-inspiring view of the lake and the surrounding mountain ranges. The amazing turquoise blue colour of Lake Tekapo is created by "rock flour" - the glaciers in the headwaters grind the rock into fine dust. These suspended particles in combination with the sunlight create Lake Tekapo's unique water colour.
The MX5 proved to be a great little cross country car. Unlike a GT car the MX5 involves the driver, through the twisties it comes alive, its a momentum car that begs to be driven hard, and even on the straight it does ok.
I love Australia and everything it has to offer, but when everything looks like its suppose to be on a postcard, its hard to not to fall in love with it all.