Arriving in Tekapo late in the day, without hotel reservations was not a good idea. But here we were, 16:30 and nowhere to stay. 3 places in a row told us “Sorry, we’re full.” But the YOA hostel clerk did mentioned that there was one room available at the motel next door. Probably the last one in the whole town.
When we were pulling in, 2 other cars had just parked and the occupants were walking towards the office, presumably to get a room. We drove right to the office door and I ran inside, ahead of the others.
Being raised in Canada, manners and politeness are a part of my core beliefs. I was always told to say “please” and “thank you”. I hold the door for strangers. I help other tourists find there way, before they even ask for help. But I’ve also spent considerable time in Russia and China. Both require you to be a bit rude and fight for what is yours, or quite simply: You get nothing. When something needs to get done, I can do it. Yes, it was rude of me to go ahead of those other people. But I got that last room and they didn’t. I did feel a bit of guilt, but my wife and I had a place to sleep.
That night I setup a tripod in the parking lot and took some night shots with very long exposure times. It was SO dark that I was not able to focus the camera myself, and I had to rely on the autofocus. But in the dark, that too doesn’t work. I guessed that if I focused the lens all the way one direction that it would be focused either on the closest focal distance or ‘infinity’. If I took 2 sets of pictures, 1 set would FOR SURE be in focus. On an old manual focus lens, this is true. I found out the hard way that autofocus requires the lens to go past ‘infinity’ and then come back. You’ll see in the gallery a few shots that are blurred. This is why.
The next day we decide to go on a short hike. Our legs are still VERY sore from our trip up Avalanche Peak just a few days earlier. We walk around the edge of the lake and find a trail which starts off pretty steep. At least it feels that way. After about 20 minutes, the trail levels out a bit and the rest of the climb is quite enjoyable. It’s a weekend and lots of people are out to get some fresh air. We pass by many smiling faces. One older man flies by us, much to our embarrassment. He’s obviously a local and maybe does this track every day. At least that’s what we hope. It reminds us of a rather steep hike we did i Korean, where groups of 70yr old men were basically running UP the stone steps of the mountain, while we struggled to climb at a snail’s pace.
Once at the top, Mt. John offers some amazing views of the surrounding land. Be sure to click on the panoramas to see them in a LARGE view.
Mount John is also home to an astronomical observatory.
After 2 nights in tekapo, we’re back in the car, headed to Wanaka!
Follow the rest of our New Zealand Road trip: