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(Rewinding to April) Lake Tekapo was a quiet, peaceful town that we stopped in while en route to Queenstown. Very similar to Lake Wanaka, except far more isolated (although it’s usually a common tourist stop along State Highway 8).
The lake itself was the most smooth, serene and still one around. If that sounds strange, it’s just because it was THAT perfect – no ripples, no cloudiness, no murky areas. It looked like a sheet of green – we could see every pebble and rock below its surface. The mountains in the distance were reflected perfectly onto the lake’s surface.
Sidenote: When I came back a month later on my own, the mountains were snowcapped and even more amazing.
Our hostel on the campgrounds had the smallest, most cramped dorms I’ve ever stayed in – we literally opened the door and could barely fit sideways in between both double bunks. It was quite humorous – you get used to anything when you travel.
One of the girls had a bright idea to swim in the lake – we all agreed and followed. A short sprint later and the water up to our knees, all of us nearly died. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in water that cold – usually I’d dip out immediately. But we decided to tough it out, because we really wanted to just brag that we swam in the lake. The water got up to my waist and I just felt my body go numb – my toes and thighs were throbbing, alternating between hot and cold. I managed to go in neck-deep but then called it quits. We slowly made it back to shore, barely able to stand and dripping wet. Definitely a lot worse than my Wellington swimming experience.
I hiked a bit up the trail on my own after that in an attempt to warm up and also to get a view of some the other parts of Tekapo that were shrouded by trees to anyone on the ground. Hiking – the true meditative form of the traveler’s soul.
When it reached sunset, Tekapo Village turned into a sleeper town. I ended up eating dinner while standing in the pitch black darkness in the middle of the woods (that’s how I roll).
We also had some photo ops at Mount John Observatory, which offered some great 360-panorama opportunities. It was beautiful in a different way – not green and lush, but dry and open, yet still pure.