Our mountain weather seemed to be collapsing this morning, whereas the weather further east looked fair, so tour director Francine decided we should leave Omarama (I think) and head for Geraldine. Our route would take us a mere 180kms through Mackenzie Country, named after a Gaelic speaking Scottish thorn-in-the-side-of-the-authorities sheep rustler. The infamous Mackenzie was imprisoned, escaped a few times and finally pardoned, presumably for bad behaviour. Good solution, guys. Crime does pay. The villain was supposedly in New Zealand for only two years; long enough to establish a lasting legacy, though.
At an early stop in Twizel [pronounced Twyz-l, not Twiz-l, remember] for supplies, we again met the pair of German travellers who had been on our walk in the Abel Tasmen National Park. Hugs and handshakes ensued before we actually got around to shopping.
After our supplies stop, we again passed the southern end of Lake Pukaki to bid farewell to Mount Cook, its head once again shrouded in clouds. Today’s scene looked a little less impressive than yesterday’s but New Zealand’s scenery sort of redefines impressive giving itself a hard act to follow. It was worth a pause and another click, though.
Our route continued past another of the several lakes, Lake Tekapo, which is overlooked by another tourist hotspot, the diminutive Church of the Good Shepherd. The church, with hardly enough room to swing a kiwi, stands at the southern end of the lake on a rocky mound and is itself overlooked by hundreds of grockels. The church has an end window providing photogenic views up the lake which, of course, everyone wanted to record on film/pixels. From a a little lower and to the side, and with the correct number (3) of strategically placed foreground rocks, this is roughly what the view would look like.
“But what’s the church look like?”, I hear you ask.
I’m getting there. More recently a ban has been imposed on photography from within the church. This results in the hundreds of tourists standing just outside the church door, trying to record the iconic view by shooting through the church to the window at the far end [not very far at all, really], presumably timing their shots to avoid the circling kiwi within. [Bump! See, I told you there wasn’t enough room.] Here’s Francine trialling a line up on the church of the head-battered kiwi, a line up which she finally rejected muttering, “it really isn’t worth it”, even though there was a cluster of those blasted lupins, too.
The rest of our drive was unremarkable. Maybe the most remarkable thing was that we didn’t drive by any publically accessible suitable dragonfly habitat. We arrived in Geraldine, topped up with fuel and checked into another Top 10 campsite with a grass pitch of reasonable proportions [reasonable for New Zealand, that is].
Our German friends have ended up on the same campsite. Another German traveller, this one a cyclist [Bravo!!], gratefully accepted a cold beer from Busby’s fridge. The five of us spent a pleasant early evening engaged in a bilingual beer and wine swilling party on the picnic bench positioned beside Busby. [Hic!]