Electric blankets and a heated cabin - Jules is in heaven. Step outside and it's bloody cold! Woke to the sound of the wind swirling off the lake and rattling our cabin door. Sun doesn't rise until 8 am but is worth the wait. The brilliant turquoise of the lake doesn't show until the sun is above the mountains. But the colour of the sky as the rising sun hits the clouds is ridiculous!
The kids comment that the scenery looks fake - like someone has "put up wallpaper on the sky". I am quickly running out of superlatives for these mountains that surround us. Can't imagine walking out the front door and seeing this view every day. Majestic.
Sun up at 8 am and sets before 5pm. The days are short and we only have one day here so it's going to be a big one. Plenty of walking tracks surround the lake and we plan to knock two over today. One close to town to warm up before we drive out of town for the bigger walk. We set out from town after breakfast but the track isn't very well marked. Before we know it Milla and
I are following rabbit tracks and ducking between the brush and the bracken. Jules and Deaks follow with trepidation. We are a little lost and back track before finding the steep incline we were seeking. It is steep and leads to open grassland. Not anymore! The grasslands have made way for a new estate and the smaller lake we were heading for appears to by dry. The lady at the post office reckons she's lived here 20 years and has never found the track listed on the tourist maps. Hike number 2 is more popular and she warns us of it's exposure to the elements.
We visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Border Collie statue before chowing down on some tasty bakery treats from Doughboy Bakery. We add a few more layers before heading out past Mt John to the peninsula hike. We park at a pine plantation and follow the poled path. The hills running down to Lake Tekapo's edge are bereft of flora and ravaged by the cold winds and the fluffle of rabbits that have covered the hills in pellets. About a 4 km round trip and the undulations are steeper than expected.
There is no other human for as far as the eye can see - and the eye can see further than normal in this setting. We sit and ponder at the end of the hike taking in the crazy panorama before turning around and heading for home. These kids can walk and walk without whinging.
Still a few hours to spare and we walk along the lakeside to Tekapo Springs. It is famous for hot springs and star gazing but we didn't pack our togs and the skies are covered in clouds. The boys opt for an hour of tube sledding on a man made slope and the girls hit the ice rink for a touch of ice skating. Good practice for Queenstown.
We got denied dinner at Mackenzies Cafe last night and booked in advance today. We've walked the socks off the kids today and Milla is showing signs of cracking. Had a meltdown over uncomfortable skinny jeans but pulled it back together for dinner and ice cream. This place serves meals "stonegrilled" - medallions of meat on a red hot stone. Chicken, beef, venison and lamb of course. You effectively cook it yourself and it was
fresh and bloody delicious.
Home to the cabin and we watch Boy (the movie). It feels like it's played on TV alot and is probably the equivalent to The Castle back home. I reckon we'll all doze off a bit quicker tonight. Ready for a laidback drive to Queenstown in the morning.
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