Harking back to My Big South Island Road Trip ... I drove from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo, stopping off for a few hours at Mt Cook Village. Looking back, I think I would have liked to stay for a few nights at Mt Cook. There were some nice walking tracks and also a couple of good tours.
At Tekapo, I had an en suite unit at the Holiday Park. I stayed there because it was right on the edge of the lake where I could swim. For anyone's information, the Park was also about a couple of 100 metres from the hot pools.
On one day at Tekapo, I decided I would drive up to the top of Mt John. There is an observatory there and on a cloudless night it is one of the clearest views of the night sky in the world.
I figured the daytime ascent would be a piece of cake. But, oh my goodness, the drive was horrendous, hugging the side of the mountain, winding around and around, for what seemed like hours, but in reality was probably only about fifteen minutes. I was so scared. As I got higher and higher, the land at the foot of the mountain became so far away, so tiny, so Lilliputian, and the road was ultra-narrow. None of the photos I took truly depict how far it is to the bottom of the mountain.
I had contemplated walking up the mountain (the hiking track was on the opposite side of the mountain to where the driving road was) and I wish now that I had done this instead.
At the top, there is a cafe, and I had quite a nice panini and a smoothie. But, oh dear, there was a moth in my smoothie. The cafe is open at night for the tourists to the observatory and I guess this moth had stayed behind. I felt so silly going up to the counter with the (almost) classic line, "There's a moth in my smoothie.." I fully expected the assistant to say something like, "So, do you want us to teach it the back-stroke?" Do folk still tell the "there's a fly in my soup" jokes?
The staff got into a huddle and suspicious looks were cast over their shoulders at me. I think that they may have thought I had smuggled in the moth inside my handbag. Sigh, no way would a moth fly out of my handbag - I open my handbag far too frequently for moths to breed in there! I did get a refund.
below: "Lord of the Rings" (ish) scenery at Mt Cook (this is the area where many scenes were filmed for the movie).
below: "There's a moth in my smoothie!"
below: view from the top of Mt John, Tekapo