By Kate Blalock, contributor
Our visit to New Zealand started off with a road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown. We got up pretty early that morning (we were still feeling some jet-lag from the 11 hour flight) and hopped in our rental car. There really wasn’t much in the way of breakfast places open, and we hadn’t feel like grocery shopping after our long flight. So, we stopped at McDonald’s. I hate McDonald’s, and I am really not a fan of fast food, but this was the best fast food breakfast I have even had. You can read more about dining in New Zealand here and in my follow up article on New Zealand food.
Anyway, we started driving south towards Queenstown; it’s about a 6 hour trip, and we wanted to have time for some shopping once we got there. I took the first shift as driver, and it took me some time to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. We stopped for lunch at Lake Tekapo, which quickly became one of my favorite stops.
Lake Tekapo, located on New Zealand’s South Island, is a lake located in the Christchurch/Canterbury region. It is part of the UNESCO dark sky reserve; if you want to an amazing view of the night sky, make sure to visit the Mount John Observatory. The lake-shore has a few shops and restaurants, but for the most part the scenery is untouched. We walked down to the beach where we could view the magnificent Southern Alps, and even get a look at Mount Cook!
A popular spot for photographers is the Church of the Good Shepard. Built by early settlers in 1935, it is still used as a place of worship. This humble church, set against the breathtaking grandeur of the Alps, is not to be missed.
Lake Tekapo was first settled by Maori, and remained untouched by settlers until the mid-1800’s. The lake itself is an intense milky-turquoise color; the glaciers that feed Lake Tekapo grind rock into a fine dust, which is then deposited in the lake.
There are quite a few things to do in Lake Tekapo–from ice skating to tubing, spas to hiking, there is a little something for everyone. We didn’t have long to stay, but enjoyed a relaxing lunch at one of the cafes overlooking the beautiful lake and Alps.
Photos by Kate Blalock