Our last full day in New Zealand! (Sob!)
A glorious day to start with in Lake Tekapo. The best view of the mountains in the distance yet:
We’d passed a mass of lupins yesterday without the opportunity to photograph them, so back we went to rectify this omission. A wonderful sight, particularly with the mountains in the background.
We then planned to go to the nearby Mount John observatory (where one can see the sky at night) just to see the view and to grab a snack at the café up there. However, there was a mystifyingly large queue to just drive up the road. Jean found out why – there is only limited parking space and it was full. There were at least half a dozen cars in front of us, so it would have taken probably an hour of waiting before we were able to see the place. Plus, it would cost us $8. We decided to abort this particular mission.
This was the first experience we had had of the season impinging on us to any major extent. It is the first weekend of the long summer break for New Zealand, and it was a lovely day. Cue – loads of tourists (ahem). It has to be said that most of them were Chinese. Why on earth do they have to turn up in such huge numbers?? It’s not altogether surprising that they are resented in many tourist spots, because they block others from seeing the same things simply because of the enormous numbers of them, all taking pictures of themselves, each other, in groups, without any consideration for the impact they are having.
We had a breakfast snack back down in Lake Tekapo village and then headed in a generally north-easterly direction towards Christchurch. Nothing much to report, really – a pleasant enough drive of around three hours, with the weather steadily deteriorating – again. Very, very noticeable how many vehicles were heading out of Christchurch into the mountains. It was like the roads down to the West Country in summertime in the UK at times.
Fortunately, we weren’t delayed at all, and found the hotel with little trouble (thanks again, Google Maps). Before we checked in, we drove a dry run to the airport so that I would at least have some idea which way to go in my befogged state at 4.30 a.m. tomorrow morning!
Back to the hotel to check in properly. Standard hotel room really, but we had at least been upgraded to a king-size bed. Perfectly fine for an overnight stop.
Nice enough meal in the hotel restaurant and back to the room for final preparations for our flights tomorrow. Christchurch – 6.35 a.m. (forsooth!!) to Sydney, arriving at 8.05 a.m. local time. Then a hugely long wait at Sydney airport until our flight to Hong Kong departs at 3.50 p.m. and arrives at 10.15 p.m. local time. It’s around 11 hours in the air, that one. A long day beckons, so an early night is indicated as we are planning to get up at 4 a.m.