Existing Member?

360 Days of Adventure...continues A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step. I aim to make each step a worthy part of my journey. Click the title above and join me ...

Te Anau to Christchurch (RT part IV)

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 26 May 2013 | Views [1932]

They told me New Zealand was beautiful, but I never really understood just how incredibly beautiful it is. If I have to draw a parallel, driving from Te Anau up to Queenstown resembles driving around Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The scenery is dramatic as large mountains disappear into the lake’s icy water. ‘Snow in May never does stay’ they say here and there is only a sprinkling on some of the higher peaks. The driving rain I encountered earlier has been left behind although heavy clouds hang protectively over the mountain tops. By now I am used to pulling over at short notice as clouds obligingly move aside for a photographic moment. This section of the trip is no different.

Darkness is just beginning to settle in as I arrive in Queenstown and set about trying to find the backpackers where some friends I met in South Africa are staying. Fortunately the town is quite small and, despite the relatively large number of hostels, it isn’t long before I find the one I am looking for.

Queenstown is picturesque, rather touristy and full of adventures activities. Needless to say this brings with it the young backpackers on working visas looking for work. It is certainly the most lively place I have visited in New Zealand, although possibly stops short (I think) of being a complete party town. The shops are quaint and with everything in easy reach, it is not difficult to see why people want to stay here. We head out for the famed local eatery Fergburger. I am not a huge fan of burgers, but these are unlike most and are a filling meal in their own right – it’s little wonder those that know, know better than to order chips as well!

The following day I meet with a couple I met not long before leaving Bristol. In fact they are the only people I have met from the West Country since I began travelling 4 months ago. It amuses us to reflect that we started in Bristol, ended up in NZ via two entirely different SA’s (South America in their case and South Africa in mine).

I allow myself 2 nights here and am grateful to leave with a backpack of totally clean clothes again. My feet have barely touched the ground since I began my whirlwind tour and it is a relief not to be rushing off quite so soon.

I leave with every intention of going to Wanaka, especially when I realise I actually have one more night than I had reckoned on. I have just publically admitted that even when the number involved does not extent past my 10 fingers, I am capable of getting my sums wrong! Whilst my sister is busy collecting degrees, I find myself unable to figure out the terms of my car rental! I am so engrossed in sorting through the mathematical cobwebs in my head that I miss the turning to Wanaka!

The wonderful thing about touring New Zealand is that the views range from beautiful to stunning so it doesn’t matter too much where you go. The Department of Conservation has done an excellent job of signposting places of interest and ensuring that New Zealand is user-friendly. Before too long I arrive at Lake Tekapo and I know that luck has smiled on me again. The Lakeside Backpackers overlooks the lake with large floor to ceiling windows in the lounge and front rooms. I am grateful for an empty dorm.

I take a short walk to the Tekapo Spring Baths and lounge in waters of 37 degrees amid the rising steam watching the sun set behind the large snow-capped mountain in front of me. Before the sky has even darkened, a full plump moon appears from behind the same mountains and begins its nightly ascent. Soon the sky is dark aside from the shimmer of moonlight which also plays on the lake and a magnificent display of stars overhead. A light frost is forming outside this watery cocoon and still I remain, embracing the peace and warmth, enjoying this quiet moment. Lake Tekapo is definitely somewhere I would like to spend more time, but the road beckons and I have one more overnight stop to make before returning the rental car tomorrow morning. I stay in Christchurch again and prepare for the second part of my adventure. I am collecting a relocation deal car and have 5 days to drop it off to the rental company’s office in Auckland. This mutually symbiotic relationship is therefore only costing me a rental fee of $1 per day, with car ferry passage paid and one free tank of fuel. I am opting for the comprehensive insurance at $17per day and will also need to pay the passenger fare of $65 and additional fuel, but nonetheless it is a good option.

New Zealand is made for exploring and my amazing journey continues.

Tags: backpacking, lake tekapo, new zealand, queenstown, stunning, te anau, tekapo springs, touring

About butterfly-freed

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries


My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.