We had driven the 2 hours into and then out of Milford Sound on the same road. Although it was a good drive it was a little watershed. The drive across to Invercargill was long. Putting in the extra miles was allowing us an extra day to visit another place. It would be worth it but it had been tiring.
The site at Invercargill was pleasant but a bit of a way from the town. It was really just a pit stop so we stayed on site and cooked in the van.
The next day we were heading for Dunedin via the Catlins. This is meant to be a beautiful drive. Jill and I woke up and got set. However it was obvious that neither of us was really up for it. Whether it was the in/out drive from Milford or just having been on the road for 2 months, we both felt a little flat.
The drive through the Catlins was scenic but there was not a single WOW all day. Probably the first day since we arrived in Calgary. When we arrived in Dunedin and hooked up on the site. We needed to snap out of our malaise so we took a bus into town.
Dunedin is nothing special but it has 'The Octagon' which is surrounded by bars etc. A couple of beers and all was right again. As we were looking at the menu outside a bar I realised we stood next to a couple who had been on the same table at the Maori night in Rotorua. Small world.
We had our meal and then sat and had a drink with them for an hour.
Next day was our extra day. We had decided to go to Lake Tekapo. It is inland but still in the same general direction as Christchurch. I had looked at the map and could see the route out from Lake Tekapo to Christchurch. However I didn't want to go in and out on the same road again.
There were 2 other roads in. One was the main highway and the other a little used longer, windier road. I plumped for that one.
Result. The drive was fab. Along the way we were flanked by mountains. Then from nowhere were a series of the bluest lakes we had seen. The sun reflects off the rock powder in the water and produces an electric blue colour. On top each of the lakes was a hydro electric plant so there was a dam at one end. Im a fan of natural things but I still marvel at the engineering feat of building such things. We were able to drive across one and take some pics.
We continued on the drive having lunched by the bank of one of the lakes. Ahead we could see the peaks of the Southern Alps. Again we came around a bend and there in front of us was Lake Pukaki. A huge shining blue lake. At the head of it stood the magnificent Mt Cook (NZ'z highest). WOW indeed. A truly stunning vista. Welcome back to Wowland.
We had to stop and snap and video.
We followed the shoreline for a few kms drinking in the view. The drive continued in the same vein towards Lake Tekapo. Our camp site was top drawer. We had an end pitch with lots of room. We backed on to the pitch and flung open the rear doors to overlook the lake. Probably the best pitch we've had.
We walked the shoreline to a bar for dinner. Sat on benches outside looking across the grass to the lake.
All around the area the roadsides and grassed areas are covered in Lupins. Monty Python fans will remember the Lupin express sketch...in a bunch, in a bunch.
I digress. They were really pretty. The whole day had lifted our spirits again. After dinner we sat down on the lake shore had a glass or two of red and enjoyed the evening sun on the lake.
Today has been an uneventful drive to Christchurch. We have one night on a site before returning the camper tomorrow. It will be sad. It's been our transport and our home for 3 weeks. It's been a cool thing to do. It's been lots of fun and just a great way to get around.
Next we have 2 nights in a hotel in Christchurch before we fly out to Sydney. The driving leg is drawing to a close and now we start the move to the far east.
Update- we are now in Christchurch in our hotel. It seems very nice. Must be posh, they have free internet and a chap just brought us a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and chockies!!!