NZ: Day 33
Leaving Queenstown was emotional. A month of friendships in which we had bonded through the adrenaline and excitement at being exposed to some of the most incredible, once-in-a-lifetime activities had come to an end.
Such is the bond and alliances forged throughout the Kiwi Experience, that religiously small crowds of backpackers brave the morning hangover, gathering outside the hostel, to wave away their friends as they depart on the bus towards Christchurch. Emotions are high and the question as to whether you will ever see these people again looms- but for now the adventure continues.
Before we were to reach Christchurch- our final resting spot and departure zone- we were staying the night at Lake Tekapo. The lake is famed for its crystal clear night skies and is hence there-forth the location of some of NASA’s largest telescopes and observatories. Prior to reaching Tekapo, we stopped briefly at Lake Pukaki….
Reaching Tekapo we were taken to one of the more famous Church’s and marriage spots in New Zealand, the Church of the Good Shepherd.
It was post-card material and sure would be one hell of a place to tie the knot- tons of sand-flies though!
The accommodation wasn’t too shabby, Lakefront Backpackers Lodge ($28). Basically a Butlins-esque camp-site, backing onto the Lake-front, with a decent little BBQ and kitchen to cook up some grub. The Kitchen also had a little T.V area and for the first time in about a month we found some spare time to watch a few films with everyone. I suppose, this is as much a testament to New Zealand, that really this was the only time we actually had to find something to do to pass time. Apart from watching some films, our time was spent down at the lake, either reading, writing or just walking around. After the exerts and mayhem from Queenstown, this downtime did feel like some sort of rehab clinic, where we were obliged to detoxify, replenish our health and gather one’s emotions.
As chilled as this place was, I wouldn’t be leaving any stone unturned. Instead, I stayed up until midnight to watch the milky-way unfold above the lake. Just like the Abel Tasman it was pretty magnificent…
I used the silence to reminisce about the entire trip- swimming with dolphins, skydiving, luging, blackwater rafting, caving, abseiling, sand-dune boarding, sailing, camping, hiking, climbing, bungying, biking, partying. We weren’t even two months into an 8 month trip and I was already beginning to wonder how this little country could be topped! Once these memories were exchanged for tiredness, I retreated back to the lodge for a few hours sleep, before rising at 6am in time for the sunrise…
This is probably the first time I can recall that I’ve made a conscious effort to get up for a sunrise. But it was well worth freezing my knackers off for! I soaked up the early morning rays, before we packed up our things and made our last journey on the Kiwi Experience, headed for Christchurch. Tomorrow we leave the land of the long white cloud. It’s been one hell of a trip!