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Published: August 1st 2013
After waking up a bit later than we were supposed to in Queenstown we quickly showered, ate and got on the road to Dunedin. It was a long drive and we arrived a little later than planned as my map reading skills are pretty terrible and I ended up getting us lost for over an hour - whoooopsie! Eventually Jon managed to find the campsite at around 6pm. We were both shattered by the time we arrived so we made dinner and had ourselves an early night.
The next morning we woke up and made a full English Breakfast with our newly purchased HP Brown sauce. Our first full English of the trip and the first bit of brown sauce-It was soooo good! After getting ready we set out on our drive to the Otago peninsula in the hope of seeing penguins and seals. The drive to the top of the peninsula called Taiaroa Head was incredibly windy but the views along the way were beautiful which resulted in us constantly pulling over to take pictures. Imagine glistening mirage-like lakes and dramatic green hills in the back ground. Finally we reached the top and made our way down to the
viewpoint of where you can see the rare yellow and blue eyed penguins. Unfortunately as we reached the viewing point we saw a sign saying that the penguins didn't come ashore until around 4pm - we were way too early! We made our way back to the van and noticed there was another viewpoint the other side that overlooked the sea crashing against the cliff face and rocks. We went to have a look and we saw an Albatross flying just above us - it looked like a giant seagull. We then started looking over at the cliff face and noticed some seals and seal cubs on the rocks in the distance but they were a bit too far away to get a real look.
Eventually we left the viewpoint and carried on with our drive around the peninsula, taking pictures and admiring the views. Our next stop along the peninsula was a beach called Sandfly bay where we hoped we'd get another chance to try and see the yellow eyed penguins. When we got there we had to walk through an open field of sheep which I got pretty excited about and then down a ridiculously steep sand
dune. We waited and waited but unfortunately the penguins never came. All the way back to the van Jon kept turning round in the hope they would be there but they weren't!
The next morning we had an early start as we were heading to our next destination Lake Tekapo. Along the way to Tekapo we stopped off at at one of New Zealand's many tourist attractions Moeraki Boulders. The boulders are scattered across the beach as they fell from the cliffs many years ago. Most of the boulders are smooth, spherical and grey in colour and are a range of different sizes. Me and Jon spent over an hour there taking pictures! We arrived in Tekapo at around 3pm and made our first stop at this cute little church called the Church of the Good Shepherd that over looks the lake. Apparently there is something like a 20 year waiting list to get married there and you can see why. It was so peaceful there and the lake was beautiful especially with the snow capped mountains in the background reflecting on the water.
After being a bit mesmerised by the lake we went to search for a
campsite. A little while later we found the one and only campsite in Tekapo and it was pretty pricey - $20 each a night! With no other choice we set up camp and walked down to the hot springs cafe to use their "free wifi" to catch up with family and friends. It was absolutely freezing in Tekapo so we spent the rest of the evening with the heater on full blast in the van watching movies.
In the morning we woke up pretty early and got showered for our day trip to Mount Cook. Me and Jon ended up sharing a shower as if the campsite wasn't expensive enough they wanted us to pay $3 each for a shower! I wish I'd had my own though as Jon hogged all the water whilst I shivered in the corner! The views from Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook were supposed to be incredible but there was so much fog on the way - we couldn't see a thing! After a 1 hour drive we reached Mount Cook (New Zealand's highest mountain) the fog had cleared luckily and the sun was shining! We took a short 30 minute walk to one
of the view points and had the whole viewing platform to ourselves. The view of Mount Cook and the surrounding mountains were amazing, especially with the snow scattered all over them and the frozen blue and green lakes beneath them.
It had been a great few days in Dunedin, Tekapo and Mount Cook and we saw some incredible sights and views (unfortunately no penguins). Next stop Banks Peninsula near Christchurch where hopefully it's a bit warmer!
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