THIS is the main reason why I am here in New Zealand. After flipping the brochures over and over again, getting enticed by the pictures and itineraries every single day, I’ve decided that I need to experience it on my own and New Zealand has the honor of hosting my first Contiki trip!
I was staying a little further away from the starting hotel at Ibis Christchurch, so early in the morning, I took my bags & walked to the hotel and meet up with the rest of the group. We quickly loaded up our bags on the coach before heading for a walking city tour in Christchurch. Most of us pretty much around the city centre the past two days so we weren’t exactly into the walking tour.
We walked over to the Cardboard Cathedral which was really interesting, it has roofs that we made from cardboard tubes and it even has stained glass windows. The opening of the church was symbolic as it was part of Christchurch’s rebuilding.
After that, we went to the site where they laid out 185 chairs which represents the lives lost during the 2011 earthquake. Every single chair is different and represented the unique individuals.
We then boarded the bus and set off for our first stop in Geraldine, a small little town. We were told the pies in one of the shop was tasty so pretty much everyone went into the shop & grabbed pie for lunch before heading to the super mart to stock up on some snacks and drinks as our first night at Lake Ohau Lodge would not have any convenience store.
We continued on to Lake Tekapo, where some of my tour mates went onto Air Safaris, which takes you all the way to Mt Cook, the weather was really clear and pretty, which makes the flight to die for. But for most of us, we just hung around snapping pictures of the Church of the Good Shepard and beautiful Lake Tekapo. Tekapo is one of the world’s dark sky reserve, which means it is prefect for stargazing. The skies there in Tekapo is usually clear, which is why they have a research centre set up on Mt John (which overlooks the lake, more stargazing tales to come in later posts). It was summer and lupins were everywhere! It was so pretty we couldn’t resist not taking pictures.
We then head on to Lake Pukaki, where you can get to buy salmon. Don’t make a mistake like me by giving the salmon a miss. I regretted not buying their salmon cos they were taking a little long to serve us. It was so good! & because the salmons are caught daily, what you get from the shop is very fresh. Anyways, like I mentioned earlier, the weather that day was super clear, we even got to see Mt Cook (highest mountain in New Zealand) which stands across the lake, which was really lucky because Mt Cook usually just hides behind the clouds. Glorious Mt Cook~~
It’s actually very interesting how in summer, we still get to see snowcapped mountains. Heehee.
& after more scenic rides, we finally reach our lodge at Lake Ohau. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful this place was! The view is stunning! Coupled with the clear weather, I just can’t! We had dinner in the restaurant, and the brownie was really good. They have a really nice terrace which we sat on for the night, braving the cold wind to wait for the stars to come out. The sun sets at 9-ish and even when we headed to bed, the sky wasn’t all dark yet. The rest of the group sat in the games room (warmth!!) and started playing some card games/ drinking games.
The lodge is just right in front of the lake so we could walk down and I tried entering the lake. It was so cold that I couldn’t even stay in there for more than 3 minutes. The lodge also had a hot pool which you can dip in, but I couldn’t go in… thanks to the monthly visitor.
This place is apparently very popular with hiking trails, as well as skiing during the winter. I really could do a trip back here. The tranquility, especially when sitting by the lake, is comforting. It’s my type of life.
So here’s some pictures of the stars that night to end off this post!
Check out this awesome tour over here!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored trip! Everything was my own expenses.