After being woken in Kaikoura initially by the siren to alert the fire department, the evacuation siren in the motel was accidentally set off. We took this as a sign to get up & I had another go in the space age shower capsule.
We suffered our first disappointment of the holiday when we arrived at the whale watch. The seas were too rough for the ship to go out, & we could not wait 3hrs to see if the next boat would go out. The skies did look very menacing out at sea sadly. Despite the weather we drove down to seal cove @ wandered the rocks & saw the seals in their natural environment. Although missing the whale watch was a shame it does give us something to do should we ever return to these parts.
The advantage was that we were able to set off on the 5.25hr drive to Lake Tekapo. This drive was mainly down highway 1, before cutting in land. Lunch broke up the journey nicely but I was certainly glad to get here. The YHA was very nice with our room next to the disabled toilets so was almost like having an ensuite! The views of the Lake & the surrounding mountains from all over the 400 population village were truly spectacular & well worth the visit. In fact as I am writing this I am sat in the YHA lounge watching the sunrise over the mountains & the lake, not a view you can tire of.
A couple of beers was on the agenda after the drive, & we sat in the Tekapo tavern with a panoramic view of the lake. We chatted to a couple from Christchurch about life their after the earthquake, & also our sports teams. They now are fully aware of what a great season Newcastle have had.
In the evening we had booked to your the observatory at Mount John. Before setting off we were given Antarctic jackets made for US missions there. These we very much needed as temperatures were -4 at the top, not to mention the wind. We travelled up in a coach with no headlights so as to not disturb the research work. During the trip we learnt the scenes from the upcoming Hobbitt film had been filled near by & that the cast & crew had in fact stayed in the town for around months.
When we arrived sadly the clouds were overhead & therefore we were shown around the site as much as you can be in the dark! Soon the clouds parted & I saw more stars then I have ever seen I my life. I looked through the telescope at Mars, the Tarantula nebula, Alpha Centauri, & Saturn. It was truly a fantastic evening which was educational as well as fun. Seeing Saturn & it's rings through the telescope was certainly the highlight.