The bus from Queenstown was eerily quiet compared to most journeys – I think everyone was a little broken from their time in the town!
Before we set off, Tabitha, Mia and I gave Guy his gifts from all of us (chocolate milk, pizza, cookies – oh and his pyjamas which Brea and I stole from Franz Josef). After a sad last look out over the beautiful Queenstown we were back on the road.
The drive to Lake Tekapo took us up over the nearby mountain range and Guy explained that we would be driving through some snow. He wasn’t lying there, the snow was so thick – it was crazy. The traffic was pretty bad to get up over the mountains as so many lorries had got stuck in the ice – we even saw a couple of cars which had completely come off the road. Funnily enough once we made it back down mountain the road was shut just behind us. We were so lucky to get though as apparently the de-tour is over 8 hours!
The snowy scene outside led to a big debate between Mia, Tabitha, Guy and I about whether Christmas is better in the snow or the heat (Guy was adamant that BBQs at Christmas are the norm!). Funnily enough at our coffee break stop off the girls and I found some Christmas decorations reduced in a little supermarket so swiftly purchased them and set about decorating the bus. He was not impressed…!
After a little while on the bus we found ourselves at Lake Pukaki. This beautiful lake glows a bright blue colour due to glacial movement in the area. The Tasman Glacier (which incidentally is the largest in New Zealand) makes its way down the mountains and grinds the rocks into ‘rock flour’. This rock flour is what gives the lake water such a pretty blue hue. On our drive down towards the lake we could see the reflection of water in the clouds which was pretty amazing to see. Guy even said he had never seen that before!
After admiring the lake for a little while (in the freezing cold!) we got back on the bus and made our way to our accomodation, the Lakeside Lodge, right on Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo, in a similar vain to Lake Pukaki, glows with the same blue colour, however by the time we arrived the snow and cloud was really falling and we couldn’t see anything!
That evening, due to the adverse weather the only thing we could do in the area was to have a couple of drinks at the local pub which was lovely and relaxing (apart from the walk back to the hostel in -2 degree winds!)
The next morning, bright and early we made our way to the bus. It had snowed quite heavily over night so it took a little while for the bus to defrost.