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Day 11 Methven to Lake Tekapo

The Re-plan

Yesterday evening we sat down and worked out our rough itinerary for the remainder of the holiday. And with our original intention of staying 2 days in every place we were 10 days short! So we had a re-think. One decision we’ve made is that we may not do Milford Sound and the West Coast. Shock Horror! I hear, but think about it – we do live in New Zealand, so unlike your average tourist we can come back. A flight into Queenstown, hire a car, and voila!

We also decided that we wouldn’t spend the planned time in Geraldine, but carry on to Lake Tekapo. This is probably the best decision we’ve made – it is gorgeous here! But before we start waxing lyrical, just a little bit about Geraldine.

Geraldine (and Fairlie)

Like Methven, Geraldine is on the same plain as Christchurch. It’s a bit closer to the hills, but not much. The main reason we were going to stop here was because Art had read about a knitting shop. Yes, difficult to believe, but we were hunting for a small shop that sold jumpers. But this is a very special shop. The man who runs it has a passion – the Bayeux Tapestry. And he has reproduced it in its entirety using the tiny little bits of metal from the teeth of old knitting machine pattern discs. You can visit it for a donation, and the guy will tell you all there is to know about the mosaics, including the fact that his daughter has drawn and he had mosaiced new sections that finish the uncompleted story of the original. This is a very talented family – his son has helped him put together a DVD that is full of useful interactive information about the tapestry, mediaevel life, games, and much more. Plus – there’s more! In the main shop there is a Giant Jumper! This jumper is huge! It’s in the Guinness Book of Records! And it has lots of lovely fairisle panels. Mr Bayeux knitted it, and Mrs Bayeux helped to sew it up (I think she must be a very patient lady, because it is obvious that Mr Bayeux is a tad fanatical about his hobbies!)

really worth the visit, this has to be unique

Fairlie is a little further on, and has the Mackenzie College in it. Mackenzie Country has many farms that are quite remote, so I believe that the college takes boarders. At least the boy in front of me in the supermarket was being asked by the shop assistant whether he was missing home…

Lake Tekapo

The drive to Tekapo

Lake Tekapo Panarama

I’ll cover more about Lake Tekapo tomorrow. Just to say that we tried to book a cabin, but they were all full for the night. So we are camping! We were so lucky that we have managed to grab what I think must be the best spot in the place. We have a wonderful view over the lake, and are quite cozy with our little yellow tent and our two fold-up chairs. We could do with a table though – not sure if we can fit another thing in the sports car though!!

First night camp, very uncomfortable, and cold, Terri was nice and warm though. I made sure that Terri got little sleep as well

Cattell Campsite

Mount John Observatory

We must finish up today’s report with our trip to Mount Johns Observatory. This trip STARTED at 11:00 pm and we eventually got back after 1:30 AM. The whole trip is done in the dark (so you would never recognise a fellow traveller the next day even if you want to!

Mt John daytime view

This observatory is one of the few research observatories that allows visitors. A very knowledgeable guide shows you the major star constellations, and they ‘fire up’ one of the large telescopes so that the visitors can see some of the more distant stars, constellations and planets. Saturn looks just like one of those cardboard cut-out representations!

The reason the observatory is here is because there are more clear nights here than average, and very little light pollution.

It can be very windy and cold at the top of the mountain so dress up warmly (they do provide coats for people who want them. Most welcome was a cup of hot chocolate halfway through!

Insects no problem, lots of moths round the lights

Next Day: Day 12 – Lake Tekapo

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_11.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/25 21:58 by art
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