I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday 14 March 2024

The BIG One - New Zealand - Days 41, 42 and 43

 Tuesday 12th March - White Horse Pass Campsite

We had got a glacier expedition booked for the afternoon so headed up towards Mount Cook or Aoraki as it is now known.  We had a brilliant drive up the side of Lake Pukaki watching Aoraki getting nearer and nearer and watching the cloud formation change.

There is a village at the top of Lake Pukaki but it is only for people who work in the National Park.  In the summer there are about 300 people but in the winter there are only about 100.  There is a school with three students and 3 bars - one for each of them!!  The hotel at the very top is called The Hermitage and that is where our tour was going to start.  We took a coach to a car park near to the Tasman Lake and then had to walk 1.5km to the lake itself.  We had been told that we needed to do the walk in 20/25 minutes and the group set off at a cracking pace - needless to say Richard and I found it hard especially as the path was made of chippings.  We made it only a few minutes after the main group arrived.  We were divided into two groups and put into RIBS. Our guide was Izzy, who had studied Marine Geology at Southampton University.  She was very knowledgable and we learnt such a lot though I can’t remember much now!  In the early 1970s there were several small meltwater ponds on the Tasman Glacier but by 1990 these ponds had merged into Tasman Lake. The lake has hastened the retreat of the Tasman Glacier and because more of the glacier is now in contact with the water, its rate of retreat has increased.  By 2008 the lake was about 7km long and 2km wide having almost doubled since 2000.  It is expected to grow to a maximum length of 16km within the next couple of decades.  The glacier calves small icebergs into the lake periodically and they gradually melt depending on the time of the year.  We saw a small iceberg and were very lucky that while we were watching it part of it fell off.  I was always told that 10% of the iceberg is above the water and the other 90% is under it.  Because part of the iceberg had fallen off the iceberg had to turn itself over and over until it was happy that is was 10% - 90%.  Amazing. All too soon our trip on the water was over and we had to face the walk back to the coach.  We were a bit slow but were only last by a short margin!

We drove up to White Horse Pass Campsite which was very busy and managed to find a spot though we were slightly over to one side!

Wednesday 13th March - Lake Tekapo

I had a dreadful night, guess who slept through it all?!  To start with we were on a slight slope so I felt as if I was rolling out of bed then the wind started (not mine I hasten to add). It howled down a gulley and I could hear it coming, there were a few times that I thought that we would get blown over and I was quite frightened.  To add to the wind, oh and the rain, my new knee started to hurt.  This was yet another off grid night!  Also our last one in New Zealand.  Our neighbours decided that enough was enough and left at 4am!  

We drove down the side of Lake Pukaki and the water was so blue, it was amazing.  We stopped at the bottom of the lake and had a coffee and just stared at the lake.  

We arrived at Tekapo and went straight to the Church of the Good Shepherd, the most photographed building in NZ!  It was built in 1935 as a memorial church to commemorate early settlers.  Just next to the church is a sheepdog statue. It was built in 1968 by local farmers to symbolise the local residents gratitude to the loyal collie dogs who came over from Scotland and worked alongside the settlers.

It was lunchtime as we wandered through Tekapo and we found a pie shop and had our first NZ pie which everyone raves about - they were good.  

Our pitch for tonight is right on the edge of Lake Tekapo overlooking mountains and watching the clouds coming down a gulley, it is a sight to behold.

I did a load of washing and came across a family of 6 identical kittens. There is a mother apparently but she is feral and won’t come out in people are around.

On Monday I mentioned about 3 dams which were part of the Waitaki power scheme now I’ve found out that there are 8 power stations in the scheme, the first one being here in Tekapo.

Thursday 14th March - Christchurch

It was quite noticeable this morning that we are usually one of the first to leave the site in the morning but then we are usually one of the first to get to the next site!  

Our first stop was a quirky place called Three Creeks at Burke’s Pass.  It was a fascinating place and I was amazed as there was a sewing machine exactly the same as one my mother had when I was a child!

Next was a small town called Fairlie where there are the best pies in NZ, so they say!  We actually enjoyed yesterday’s more.

Our last port of call was another small town called Geraldine, not much there except a hardware store where Richard got some screws he needed.

We had a first for us today as we saw two pig farms!  It hadn’t dawned on us before that we hadn’t seen any pigs!  

We are now at our halfway to Kaikoura site just outside Christchurch and at the end of the runway!  We come back here on Sunday night which will be useful as the hire depot is close too. Keep fingers crossed for a peaceful night. Quite a stark contrast to last night’s site overlooking a peaceful lake 🤪

As we were driving earlier we were told to pull over as there was a VERY wide load coming.  The vehicle in front of the wide load said “beware house approaching”!! 😮

1 comment:

  1. Hope you had a wonderful experience that you will remember for many years. I envy your courage going so far bet you will have lots to talk about and thanks for all the. Blogs you sent. Speak soon glad all safe and sound love Jill