Day 4: Lake Tekapo

5 September, 2016

The whole good experience here was probably marred by this. The water from the taps took a long time to warm up. I don’t know if this problem was peculiar to the suite or this resort or the whole of this area. Even after warming up, it would turn cold, really,really cold, soon after. Taking a shower and doing any kinds of washing were quite a pain.

To counter the problem of having to use icy cold water from the tap every time I needed to wash my hands (constantly when I prepared meals for the family), I heated (not boiled) a pot of water and used it as and when. Even after it had cooled down, it was still warmer than the water that was coming out of the tap.

Apart from preparing breakfast for the family, I was looking forward to watching those morning shows that cover news, weather reports, interviews and entertainment this morning. I think they are called breakfast television? I find them both informative and entertaining. Just surf the channels and you’ll most likely come across one between 6 am and 9 am or between 7 am and 10 am. Or you could google the TV guide and find out the time and channel. It’s a good way to pass the time while you’re waiting for the rest of the party to wake up. πŸ™‚

After breakfast, we drove up to Mt. John Observatory.Β  It is only 6 km away from the resort. We were blessed with good weather this morning. Please note that there’s a road access fee of $5 to drive up to the summit and the road is closed at 5 pm. If you’re up for a challenge, you can walk up to the summit. The mountain walkway is a 3-hour loop track up the summit and then down around the mountain. Get a more detailed description of the walkway here.

View from the summit – check out the colour of the water!
From another viewpoint
Some parts of the road are narrow but fret not, it’s only a short one.

You can join a tour with Earth and Sky to view the stars at night. Depending on your luck, you might even get to see the Aurora Australis from here!

Have breakfast or lunch at the Astro Cafe located on the summit. Lonely Planet has voted it as the best place on the planet for a cafe and it’s not hard to see why! Last order is at 3 pm but you can still have cakes and drinks after that. I had a chai latte with soy milk. Next time I would ask for it to be less sweet.

There are seats outside the cafe too.
The cafe may look small in this picture but there are plenty of seats inside.
She may not look it but she was thrilled to be here! πŸ™‚

We had lunch at Kohan, a legit Japanese restaurant, near the lakeshore. The chefs were all Japanese and so were the service staff. Check out the menu and the price list at the link I’ve provided. Everything we had here (mainly the vegetarian and seafood items) was ‘Oiishi’! I was surprised to see so many Japanese tourists when we arrived at Lake Tekapo. Curious, I asked the friendly Japanese staff at the souvenir store what had attracted so many of her countrymen here. According to her, many had come to look at the stars. The region has one of the best star gazing sites in the world and in fact, the Aoraki-Mackenzie dark sky reserve is the biggest in the world and the first ‘gold-rated’ reserve.

The souvenir store, Aotea, is next door to Kohan and carries a huge range of merchandise. The toilets, in between the Japanese restaurant and the souvenir store, were very clean and almost to Japanese standards except that there wasn’t any bidet, much to my disappointment.

Hubby took the kids out in the evening to look at the stars. The sky was clearer than the night before and the kids came back telling me they had never seen stars like they had seen that night. According to hubby, he could point out to them the Southern Cross. I wished I had gone out with them but I was too tired from the lack of quality sleep the night before.

Sarah has made a lovely video of Lake Tekapo, which is now probably one of her favourite places on earth.