New Zealand, Dunedin, The Otago Peninsular, Twizel and Lake Tekapo

Naomi’s birthday, there’s no way I could possibly have forgotten, she’d been on about it for weeks. Booked a hair appointment, a proper hotel, bought a dress and was planning on going out for dinner. Can’t really blame the girl, we’ve been living out of pannier bags for best part of 18 months now so a bit of a pamper wouldn’t be a bad thing. Now for those that know Naomi you’ll have realised that she dyes her hair, well she did it again recently but it went a bit wrong and it ended up with a bit of a blue hue !! Now some people would have gone mental but fair play to Naomi she decided to get her hair done and colour it properly “pink” !!!
I dropped her off at the salon about 9.45am and certainly didn’t expect to see her before 1.00pm so I took myself into town. I needed some new cycling shoes and a new rucksack, I carry one on my back at all times as it contains my passport and ipad. After 25,000km in the sun it seems to have deteriorated somewhat. It didn’t take long to find replacements for both items and afterwards I had a quick coffee before heading to the beach and headland road in search of photo opportunities !
I found a few good spots and as you’d expect in Dunedin a few rather steep streets as well. In fact Dunedin is in the Guinness book of records for having the steepest residential street in the world and once I’d picked Naomi up from the salon we went in search of it. Firstly we checked into our hotel, a very nice place just a kilometre out of the city, then off we went. It’s not far and you certainly can’t miss it as there are numerous tourists and tour buses all hanging about the bottom of it.
We of course joined the mad few who walked up it to the very top. We sat on the bench and had our photos taken before returning to the bottom, stopping at the little shop doling out certificates to say you’d done it. Back at the motel we chilled out for a bit before getting dressed up and heading into town, a curry was what we decided we wanted. We found one and although it was ok it we know we could get much better back home. Still it was a good night out and Naomi had a good birthday and that’s what counts !
Well here are a few photos from our day…..20140302-151732.jpg20140302-151751.jpg20140302-151806.jpg20140302-151900.jpg20140302-151928.jpg20140302-151949.jpg20140302-152008.jpg20140302-152021.jpg20140302-152040.jpg20140302-152101.jpg20140302-152120.jpg20140302-152133.jpg20140302-152157.jpg20140302-152219.jpg
Another great day !!
The following morning we packed the car again and this time headed out to the Otago Peninsular, we stopped on the way to see a friend of my mums but alas she wasn’t in so I left contact details and a note to say I’d been.
Now for those that don’t know the Peninsular it’s characterised by inlets and rocky outcrops with lush green pasture land, quaint little fishing harbours and some great wildlife including fur seals and penguins. It also has a castle but you have to pay to go and see it ! We started on the southern coast and took a few gravel roads down to the shoreline before heading up and over the hill to the north shore and all the way to end. We were lucky enough to get close to some fur seals but alas no penguins. Heading back along the north coast towards Dunedin was spectacular, twisting little roads right on the waters edge, made all the more difficult with the rising sun now in your eyes !!
It’s not a huge place and after a while it all starts to look the same, this doesn’t detract from it’s beauty in any way, it really is a jewel and is very rightly one of the must see places in New Zealand, we loved it !!
From Dunedin we started heading north, our next stop would be at Twizel, not to far from Mount Cook. As you can imagine the views and scenery were fantastic and I had to stop the car for photos on a regular basis. On our way we also stopped at a few places, two of which were Shag Point and the Moeraki Boulders, the first one was perhaps our best encounter with fur seals and the second is quite unusual. Perhaps about 40 almost perfectly round boulders of differing sizes are left just along the waters edge, they are a naturally occurring phenomenon are are incredible. Both places gave us some great memories and plenty of photos, just as well digital photos don’t weigh anything otherwise I’d be done for !!
Reaching Twizel we found a camp site just out of town and therefore a lot cheaper, we made ourselves comfortable in a cabin and made ourselves dinner before heading out to see the sunset over Mount Cook. Sadly dinner took longer than we expected and we arrived just a little to late for the full show. Never the less it was still a great sunset and a fantastic day……
What an amazing day, from dramatic coastlines to sunset over Mount Cook, wow !!
Well not sure how we better that day but we’ll certainly give it a go, off to Mount Cook village. There is only one road up and it’s 55km long, it follows the shoreline of Lake Pukaki until Glentanner then follows the Tasman River until it reaches the village. The scenery is once again amazing, getting boring me telling you how amazing everything is but it’s true !!
At the village we made enquiries at the info centre about some short walks, I’m having a little trouble with my foot so can’t walk to far. Decided to try the Hooker Valley walk, it’s down for about a three hour walk including the return. We decided not to walk all of it, but there are two swing bridges and the views from the second one are great so we stopped there for photos and then returned to the car after that. It was a pleasant walk, certainly not difficult in any way but I was glad to get back to the car and take the weight of my foot. From there we headed to the Blue Lake and Glacier view walk, we stopped to pick up a hitch hiker on our way though. I Dutch backpacker who wanted a lift to Lake Tekapo, we offered a lift and said we were going to glacier view first so get joined us.
Firstly the walk is only about 15mins each way and there’s no point going to Blue lake as you can see it from the glacier view walk, secondly the lake is actually green in was it’s fed by rain water rather than by melt water from the glacier. The glacier itself is an impressive sight although if you’ve been to Fox or Franz Josef glaciers you’ll not be so impressed. It’s covered in grey rocks and stone which it’s collected as it recedes, the valley that was carved by the glacier is huge and although the river is very low at the moment you can imagine that it would be an awesome sight in full flow.
Well after that we all bundled into the car and set off for Lake Tekapo, we stopped for photos once or twice which gave our hitch hiker an opportunity to stretch his legs and other than stopping to say hello to Jack and Laurie, the two cyclists we’d met in Kaiteriteri it was an uneventful drive. Because I was now driving away from the mountains all the interesting scenery was behind me, still a very pleasant journey all the same.
When we arrived we bid our guest farewell and went in search of a cabin, no luck with that so we resorted to tents for a change. Once we were sorted out we headed out for a spot of lunch and then headed of for a look around. We ended up driving up Mount John, it has an observatory at the top and the views are amazing, you can literally see 360 degrees. Unfortunately they close the road up at 6.00pm so you can’t stay up for sunset….shame !!
So that was our day in the mountains, glorious weather, great scenery, fabulous walks and a good deed done, looks like we succeeded in having a better day !! Here are a few photos…….






Just a small selection of photos from the hundreds I took during the day !!
Well that’s another blog done and dusted, only a couple more to write before we leave for Australia.
Keep reading and take care.


About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
This entry was posted in Lake Tekapo, Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand, Otago Peninsular, south island and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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