I didn't know what to expect. No, actually, I did know what to expect. I had read (and re-read several times) Tsh Oxenreider's blog post on the South Island, as well as the NZ chapter in her book At Home in the World. I thought I knew what we'd see, but instead, it was just straight roads through farmland and pastures as far as the eye could see. Granted, that wasn't very far since it was rainy and foggy for the first hour of our travels .
After driving well out of the city and any form of civilization in general, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and THERE THEY WERE! The mountains. The superbly majestic, perfectly snow-capped, mountains of New Zealand. That's what we were looking for!
It was crazy. They were all around us. Just when I thought we had surely taken a wrong turn and would be driving straight into snowy peaks, the road would bend and the mountains would suddenly be beside us, then behind us, and new mountains would rise up in front. Needless to say, I have countless blurry photos of snow-capped mountains from the campervan windshield.
This was to be our longest day of driving on this trip and the kids did great. I'm sure it helped that it was the first day we figured out how to use the DVD player. We also pre-empted the winding roads with some Dramamine. Jude was on his second day of a fever (I think I forgot to mention this in my last post??), but thankfully, I had packed Tylenol for our trip knowing that he tends to get run down when we're traveling or doing a lot in a short span of time. Normally, I'd let a fever run its course, but if there's one time I'm okay with utilizing the miracle of Tylenol--it's on our "family vacation of a lifetime" on the other side of the world.
We made it to Lake Tekapo and pulled into a scenic overlook for a potty break and to make some sandwiches. Lake Tekapo is fairly well known in the tourist world and I'd read a few blogs on visiting it. We had our eye on a campground along the lake but since it was still early in the day and we were feeling good, we decided to push on through.
We did make some time to stop at The Church of the Good Shepherd. This is probably one of the top tourist stops on the South Island, but fortunately, we unintentionally timed our visit in between two tour buses. So we were able to capture some unobscured photos of the chapel as well as meander along the shoreline and teach the kids how to skip rocks. It was crisp and still, and with the mountains reflecting off the lake, it made for a stunning view. There's not a lot to do at Lake Tekapo, but there was plenty to see.
|Not exactly campervan friendly but this gravel road just screams "adventure awaits!"|
|"The Cathedral" (I feel like that word is used a lot in NZ.|
|There were some gorgeous views looking out from the cliffs too!|
|View of the Clay Cliffs from the motorway. If only you could drive straight across that pasture ...|
|One other campervan rolled in after we arrived so it wasn't TOO desolate.|
|Not quite what we had become accustomed to at other campgrounds.|
Speaking of which, we loved the cucumbers in New Zealand. Now that I'm thinking about it, we enjoyed most of the produce. After living over a year on an island where so much of our favorite produce has to be shipped in, it was nice to eat some local vegetables again! It was good we ate our fill, because our next stop was Queenstown--a region known as "the adventure capital of the world." And adventure is something our family just can't say no to!