Hello Wanaka

After sharing a few of our Queenstown/Arrowtown favorites with Jenny, it was time to continue our journey around the South Island. We drove north to Lake Wanaka. The road wound sharply over a mountain (thank you CVS Vertigo-less!) and through a valley until we arrived at the beautiful alpine lake nestled in the midst of towering mountains. The upscale area is a year-round magnet for New Zealanders who come to ski in the winter and fish, hike and swim in the summer.

Knowing we’d be staying for a few days, we went through our routine: Check out the place and see if we need to add staples to our grocery list (i.e. salt/pepper, olive oil, toilet paper); Frank finds a pool for his daily workout (we’ve been lucky in that each town we’ve visited has had at least one); we hook up our adaptors and connect our phones/computers to the internet. Then it’s off to the grocery store for our first exploration of town.

Jenny was in shock when she experienced the throngs of people in the grocery store. As I mentioned, it’s vacation time in New Zealand. RVs are everywhere and kiwis flock to their summer homes. The restaurants and grocery stores are filled with hungry people. Especially when we are staying long term, we eat many of our meals “in.” Lake Wanaka was no different. The restaurants we did visit (via local recommendations), however, were very good.

The weather and the area were both beautiful. Our original plan was to relax for a couple of days but we decided we couldn’t let Jenny come to NZ without seeing Lake Tekapo or Milford Sound. It made for a busier schedule but Jenny was a trooper—and we certainly didn’t mind seeing these wonderful places again!

 

Turquoise Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a stunning, 32-sq. mile, light turquoise lake nestled in the shadow of the Southern Alps. Our place sits on the end of a point overlooking the lake, a block away from the tiny one-street, two-block “town.” The view is spectacular and like nothing we’ve ever seen. As pretty as it is in the daytime, it is also incredible at night. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. We went out last night (late because it isn’t fully dark until after 11!)  and walked around. I have NEVER seen so many stars!

Buses of tourists make pitstops on the road in front of our house for quick photos of the lake and the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd. They also tramp up the front lawn to take pictures of each other in our patch of colorful lupines, which dot the roadsides and are in full bloom this time of year. Lake Tekapo is in ultimate contrast to the crumbed concrete of Christchurch and the perfect place for a couple days of rest and relaxation.