Day 17: Lake Tekapo & Mt John Observatory

Plan for the Day

Our plan was to move around Lake Tekapo and the town today. In our itinerary was a trip up Mount John Observatory to enjoy the view of  Lake Tekapo from a high view point in the afternoon. “Earth & Sky” organised two star glazing sessions at night at the same observatory but we were not sure if we should sign up for one of these sessions. We were hoping that a visit to Mount John Observatory could help us to decide.

Map for the day

Map for the day

By end of the day

It was an intermittently wet day again. The rain came and went the whole day. It was like a cat and mouse game, whenever it rained we would hide and when it stopped we would come out to continue our exploration. We went up the Mount John Observation and had a relaxing time enjoying view and coffee. We also decided not to sign up for the star glazing session as we were sure that the stars would be covered by clouds in the night.

Lake Tekapo in the Morning

At 7.30 am, we were already out of our room on our way to the lake area around the Church of the Good Shepherd. As usual the morning was nice and bright so unlike the weather in the evening which was usually gloomy and rainy.

Lake Tekapo at 7.40 am

Lake Tekapo (near Lakefront Backpacker Holiday Park) at 7.40 am

Like the evening before, the doors of the church were shut so we moved around the external compound of the church. The sun was shining bright and the sky was blue with many big white clouds. Against this backdrop the stone church stood up contrasting beautifully.

Church of Good Shepherd

Church of Good Shepherd

Breakfast at Tekapo Town

The good weather did not last long. By 9 am it began to rain. Rather than to return to our small room or the overcrowded shared dining room of our holiday park we decided to look for a good cafe for breakfast and coffee.

Town Center of Tekapo

Town Center of Tekapo on a raining day

There were several nice looking cafes in the town center. “Run 76” Cafe looked good so we went in to have our breakfast and coffee. We sat there for close to two hours surfing the internet, after the first hour the free one hour wifi access provided by the cafe creased so we had to surf the internet using our own “SMART” data card. We were on the last two days of our trip and had almost exhausted our 5G data limit of our “SMART” data card.

Breakfast at RUN 76 at Lake Tekapo Town

Breakfast at RUN 76 at Lake Tekapo Town

Mount John Observatory

The rain finally stopped at about 11 am and we set off to Mount John Observatory. We could either walk up or drive up to the observatory. With the weather being so unpredictable we decided not to trek the 4 km route up to the observatory. The drive to the observatory was very scenic, it was a 8 km route and near the last stretch we crossed a gate and was required to pay NZD $5 to proceed. The fee was for the car and not an entrance fee for the human to use this privately owned road.

Driving up to Mount John Observatory

Driving up to Mount John Observatory

We reached the observatory and saw several observatory domes. They were not opened to visitors at this time of the day. We parked our car at a carpark and walked a short distance to the Astro Cafe where we could have a panorama view of Lake Tekapo.

Mount John Observatory

Mount John Observatory

The view was stunning. That lake color, that stunning blue was more brilliant when seen at this high view point. At the ground level of the lake , the blue color was less vibrant, less shiny not as captivating.

Lake Tekapo as view from Astro Cafe of Mount John Observatory

Lake Tekapo as view from Astro Cafe of Mount John Observatory

Many people stayed outside the cafe to view the lake, I decided to enjoy the view from inside the cafe with a cup of coffee and a scoop of ice cream. Astro cafe was a very special shop with glass panel windows top to bottom. Even the roof of the cafe was glass paneled. I was lucky to get a table at the side and was able to enjoy an unobstructed panoramic view of the lake and the mountains far beyond.

Coffee with a Panoramic View of Lake Tekapo

Coffee with a Panoramic View of Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo in the Evening

At 6 pm we were back at the Tekapo town after resting for a couple hours in our “mini” room at the holiday park. There was nothing much to do at the park so we were back into town to do some shopping. Walking along the lake at the back of the shops we could see the Church of Good Shepherd from afar. Unlike yesterday, today the view was a riot of golden shades.

Lake Tekapo at 6.30 pm on a non raining day

Lake Tekapo at 6.30 pm on a non raining day

These different golden shades were created by the rays of the setting sun peeking through the thick overcast clouds in the sky. The cloud layers of varied thickness filtered the intensity of the rays differently, creating intense and light shades of golden color on the mountain ranges. The most interesting sight was seeing these golden “spots” moving over the ground as the clouds above drifted in the wind. Lovely.

Moving Golden touch

Moving Golden touch

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Homecook Dinner

Last night we had salmon pasta for dinner and tonight we had bacon pasta for dinner. The dinner was delicious, yummy and filling. The high cost of eating out had encouraged me to do more home cooked dinner on this trip. My cooking had improved greatly since day one of this trip. We started from simple instant noodle meals to “gourmet looking” fare. The best part was the preparation effort and time was just a couple of minutes more.

Home Cook Dinner

Home Cook Dinner

First I put the pasta to cook in a pot of water. Then I placed a piece of cooking paper on a big saucepan and overlay it with sliced tomato and white onion and finally the cooked pasta. Next I sprinkled mixed herbs and vinaigrette over the concoction before covering the saucepan with a lid and put the whole thing on a stove to cook for 20 minutes. When all was done, I threw some salad greens on top and add more vinaigrette. Voila! Dinner was done.

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