Following a very hearty English breakfast we drove out of Christchurch with the sun shining favourably on us. The navigation, provided by Angela was excellent and we soon found ourselves heading south on Route 1. Driving here is superb. There was more traffic today but it was well spread out and there was never a reason to rush or to feel rushed. Not once did I exceed 70mph. What is important is that I did not feel I wanted to go any faster. Back home we always seem to be under pressure to go faster, get there quicker and there are always obstacles in the way. Here, if you come across a slower vehicle there are plenty of places to pass with safety, largely due to the lesser volume of traffic.
We stopped off in Ashburton to visit the Tourist Information Office and to have a coffee before climbing out of the Canterbury Plains. The hills looked very similar to those in mid Wales, gently rolling with plenty of sheep and cattle grazing. We crossed over two ranges before we reached Lake Tekapo. As we came up to the brow of the second range the panorama of the Southern Alps came into view. They stretched north to south as far as the eye could see and beyond. As we began to descend off the brow the lake appeared in all its turquoise glory. What a stunning place.
Soon we were in the village, visiting the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, a tiny church built on the shores of the lake. The west window behind the altar is clear glass instead of the traditional stained glass. The reason is that no stained glass window can improve upon the work of God as seen through the window.
Our next plan was to find some accommodation, so we sought out the youth hostel, also on the lake shore, and decided to camp in the garden with the view. It is such a contrast to last night’s accommodation but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else tonight.
After a generous cooked breakfast and a commiserate with our hosts (their daughter is married to an Englishman and living in Cambridge UK!) We set off on our pleasant drive South West to the lakes and mountains. The roads are not high speed but the traffic is sparse so hence the pleasant experience.
Our tent is pitched overlooking Lake Tekapo, gorgeous in the evening sunshine. I have just hung out a load of washing, having found the YHA laundry. We will have clean socks tomorrow!