My last place to visit in the South Island before returning to Christchurch, was Lake Tekapo.
I was asleep most of the way there, and woke when we stopped at the Church of the Good Shepherd. This beautifully quaint little church, was surrounded by a sight which may in my mind rival Milford Sounds. An unbelievably turquoise lake, shimmered beside grassland and the ever present snow capped mountains. It was a stunning backdrop for such a picturesque church and fully explains why the church has a 3 year waiting list for people wanting to get married there.
Our hostel was on the lake front and the rooms opened out on to the view. It was so peaceful, you felt like staying there for a long time. Our bus had put together for a BBQ and we enjoyed (and froze) the sight with some yummy food.
Lake Tekapo is well know for it's startling clear nights and as a result two observatories have been built there to view the heavens. I opted to go on a star gazing tour. I had to wait until nearly 10pm for the sun to have set and for the stars to appear. I wrapped up as warm as possible but the wind took the temperature down to around freezing.
The sky lived up to its reputation, and as the night wore on it was soon a blanket of stars. Our guide at the observatory explained what we were seeing. He had a laser which seemed to literally reach the stars. This was great as I have never been able to pick out the constellations. He drew out the shapes and with the help of telescopes showed us stars being born, where they were dying, Jupiter, nebulas and even distant galaxies. It was a fun evening and makes you realise how insignificant we really are.
Even though I was not at Lake Tekapo for long, I will remember her well and I would like to come back and walk her shores. A great end to the South Island.