Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lake Tekapo

We rented a car and headed south from Christchurch, quickly figuring out why everyone says the South Island is so amazing. We cruised along Highway 1, stopping in a few towns along the route in seach of some long underwear and a mattress pads for our tent, we turned off onto a windy road twisting its way up through rolling amber foothills of the islands great mountain ranges.

We arrived at Lake Tekapo at dusk and checked into one of the local hostels (begrudgingly sharing a dormroom with some fellow travelers for the first time on our trip for lack of an affordable alternative!). We headed down to the lake for a night time strole and marvelled at the southern skies that opened up above our heads. There is an observatory nearby that supposedly affords some of the best views of the heavens in the southern hemisphere and we could certainly see why.
Our amazement of this place only grew when we awoke in the morning, because when illuminated by the sun, Lake Tekapo, and many of the other lakes in the South Island, appear to be an almost unnatural color of blue. The milky turquoise hue is due to the "rock flour" suspended in the glacial melt water, which was created when glaciers moved across the land pulverizing anything in their way.

To make the scene even more picturesque, there is a tiny stone church built along the shore of the lake. A bit more unusual is the dog statue nearby, which was supposedly built as a tribute to the sheepdogs that served the hearders that settled the area. We snapped a few classic photos here before heading out of town.

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