Day 50 Lake Tekapo – Mt Cook
With the first signs of light coming through the van window, I jumped out of bed and headed back down the road to Lake Tekapo. The sun hadn’t quite come over the horizon by the time I got into town but the skies had been amazing, dark purples as I left my campsite through to bright pinks before the golden yellows started coming through. The main reason for getting into town for sun rise, is to take a few shots of the Church of the good Shepard on the lakes edge. The site is a well-known as a great place to take photos, so there was a small crowd of people already there, Gopros scattered around the place, tri pods set up in a long line with their owners playing around with setting on the cameras, all trying to get the perfect shot of the church with the glowing skies in the back ground.
The clouds started rolling around and the glowing skies soon turned into a light grey, so time to head off to today’s next stop. An hour’s drive from Lake Tekapo is New Zealand’s highest Mountain, Mt Cook. Heading back along and around Lake Pukaki, the views of the snow-capped Southern Alps were amazing. The calm lake, dark mountains and the sun lighting up the white snow were a great sight. Getting closer to Mt cook the clouds closed in and the winds picked up, I was also running a bit low on fuel, I should have learnt after yesterday’s fuel run, so after a few last shots of the ranges, it was back to town to fill up.
After filling up I head to tomorrows destination of Christchurch. Not far out of Lake Tekapo is a small Town called Fairlie, this is where the skies opened and it was a wet horrible drive through to Temuka. This small town is well known throughout New Zealand for pottery that has graced many NZ homes since 1931 and was also the home of Richard Pearse, the man that was racing the Wright brothers to become the first man to fly. I check into the Temuka Holiday park for the night. Tomorrow I head up the coast to Christchurch.
Day 51 Christchurch
This morning is a bit wet, drizzling through the night and isn’t expected to clear until mid-day. I stick around camp until checkout time then make my way up SH1 to Christchurch. Stopping off at Rakaia, home to the big salmon, for a bit of lunch. After over filling the belly, it was time to check out Christchurch. I head straight into the CBD. This place is still a big construction zone after the City was badly damaged in 2011 by a shallow 6.3 magnitude earth quake. The earthquake struck just after lunch in the busy city killing 185 people and injuring thousands, collapsing a couple of buildings and structurally damaging hundreds.
After finding a carpark, the first thing I go and have a look at is the new Cardboard Cathedral, constructed in 2013 using large cardboard tubes, as well as some timber and steel, after the Main historic Cathedral was damaged in the quake. Just behind the cathedral and opposite where the CTV building once stood, is a temporary art piece of 185 empty white chairs, depicting all the lives lost in the quake.
Around the corner is what use to be the CBD, a lot of the buildings were demolished after the structural damage they encountered, some still waiting to be brought down and a lot of flattened sites waiting for the construction to begin. Along a bit further is the shipping container shopping mall called Re START. A few shops have started up again in the little temporary outdoor mall as they wait for the new shops to be completed. It’s really well done, with a few food stalls and bars as well as many clothing retailers.
I carry on walking around the city, passing the Avon river that runs through the city, St Michaels church, numerous buildings with steel structures holding them together and end up at the old Cathedral. It’s sad to see it in the state that it’s in, all fenced off, windows boarded up, big gaping hole in one end where it had collapsed, and several other areas damaged. Cathedral square in front of the damaged Cathedral is still a popular tourist spot, with a few buskers, some art work, and a couple of little popup food stalls. This is where I catch up with a friend Juraj and sample a few beverages before its time to find a camp for the night. I end up at Waihora park Domain campground just south of the city and on the way to tomorrows destination.