Day nine we pushed on to our last leg of our road trip and finally spotted Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, on a clear day. It was gorgeous to see sat at the far end of the bluest lake I have ever seen, Lake Pukaki. Famously known for its distinctive turquoise colour, created by glacial flour, the extremely fine ground rock particles from the glaciers that run into the lakes.
We took the drive around the lake to Mount Cook village, nestled away at the terminal of the mountain. A very small, secluded village with nothing much other than accommodation and a cosy cafe filled with walkers. The drive there was just so spectacular and surreal.
The largest remaining glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman was a short climb out of Mount Cook village, a few hundred steps to reach the summit of a hill that overlooked incredible landscape and the glacier, which really not a lot remains of it. The lake beyond the glacier, shown in the image below, started as a few meltwater ponds in the 1970s, which eventually has grown into the Tasman Lake, sad really.
That night we camped on a cliff edge overlooking the lake and Mount Cook, the sun setting one side reflecting an orange glow onto the mountains.
Our last full day in NZ had arrived and we were ready to make the most of every second. We started with breakfast by the lake. A breakfast to remember, before being bombarded by two bus fulls of tourists. They were more intrigued by our camper and what we were cooking than the actual scenery!
Lake Tekapo was our last lake to stop off at, just as beautiful as the last. We took a drive up Mount John, known for the Observatory, incredible views, stars at night and the cafe. A perfect place for a morning coffee.
To end our eleven days with a limited amount of showering and relaxation we treated ourselves to an afternoon in Tekapo Springs. Just what we needed. Three large, empty hot pools to fall asleep in.
Lake Tekapo features the Church of the Good Shepherd, a magnet for tourists to take the perfect shot. A beautiful location but unfortunately it was ruined by the amount of people crowding around this tiny church. Luckily this was really the only time we felt like we had been bombarded by other tourists in New Zealand. The majority of the way round it was just us and the road, a peaceful secluded place to travel.
Our final night was spent in a very weird camp spot, a short drive outside of Christchurch. It felt like we invaded a locals secluded holiday home, and it was the first time we felt a little unsafe, but it meant we didn’t have far to drive the next day. At least it had clean toilets!
Last day had arrived and it was time to fly back to Australia for the remainder of our time in Melbourne before hitting the UK in time for Christmas. Unbeknown to the earthquake that destroyed Christchurch back in 2011 we were so disappointed by the city at first, with nothing really to do or see, nowhere to sit and have a meal before we flew out, until we found an information centre explaining the destruction of Christchurch and that it was amongst rebuild. Felt so guilty for judging it, but yet amazed by how far the city has come along since the hit.