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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 261: Dundedin to Lake Tekapo

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 23 July 2008 | Views [1120]

Lake Pukaiki

Lake Pukaiki

Wednesday 23rd July

A couple of us were picked up by the Magic Bus at 08.00 on another grey and cold morning. Along the way out of Dunedin on the road to Lake Tekapo, we stopped off at Baldwin Street, officially 'The Steepest Street in the World'. It was indeed very steep, but I reckon the Spencer Road in Derry is just as difficult to walk up as this one.

One of the sights along the way that day was at the Moeraki Boulders, which were no more than a bunch of large, round rocks that were stuck in the sand (to single this out as a tourist sight is almost an insult to the rest of the country which is usually spectacular). I took the opportunity to book a ticket for the bus from Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook the following day. The company that I phoned weren't the most efficient and it took about half an hour to sort it out but I got there in the end.

Our next stop was at Benmore Dam, one of the largest in the southern hemipshere, but, again, it was harldy one of the most impressive sights in a country of such outstanding beauty. It's a mighty construction and generates much of the electricity that is supplied to both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We stayed there for a short while before we made our way towards Lake Tekapo.

We passed through what is known as 'Mackenzie Country', a large area of land in the middle of the South Island that serves as the main farmland of the country. It was a dull enough day but the scenery was still impressive, and one area which was made famous by yet another of the scenes in Lord of The Rings. We came to Lake Pukaiki, situated at the foothills of grey, stoney, snow-capped peaks, and I was astonished at the colour of the water, a striking turquoise blue that I never knew existed, just another example of what New Zealand can surprise you with! The colour is caused by what is called 'rock salt', tiny particles of rock that have been created by glaciers scraping the sides of the stone, with the effect that it changes the colour of the light that passes into the water.

We got the town of Lake Tekapo and I chose to stay at the 'Lakefront Lodge', one of several options that were on offer in this small town. It was reasonably new, and quite comfortable, and I spent most of the evening reading and relaxing in front of the log fire, as the rain poured down outside. I was fortunate enough to have a dorm room to myself, so I had an early night and enjoyed reading a new book, 'Into The Wild', a true story about an American guy in the early 1990s who left his family and went back to basics in the wild of Alaska. I was more than happy to have the heating cranked up and a comfortable room to myself.


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