First day actually out on our own! Haha I make it sound like we’re living in the wilderness but you know, neither of us have done this whole campervan thing before so we’re learning as we go!
We woke up and tried not to disturb the farm dogs (they didn’t even flinch as we fumbled about putting our bed back to a sofa and chair, actually less irritating and quicker than we thought to do) and off we went! Bye bye Kates family farm, bye bye wedding venue, bye bye lovely people. I drove first and felt pretty damn cool being so high up in our truck. Joe. So our first stop was Lake Tekapo – a BEAUTIFUL huge lake that has crystal blue water that is so stunning I can’t even describe it. Apart from that – it’s the brightest turquoise blue you’ll ever see and so pretty. We pulled over all excited (well I was hehe) and went for a little walk along the water along with a whole bus of Asians and joined them taking photos of the water and the little tiny historical church perched on the waters edge.
We returned to Joe and decided we’d go up to St. John’s Observatory – many people had recommended it as a place to go and it advertised 360 views of the lake and mountains so yep, that’ll do it! We asked at an info point who showed us on a map “just drive down this road and there’s a parking spot at the end and then you can walk up different routes to the top.” Er well we drove for what felt like 4 minutes and we apparently missed the car park but came across a gate saying 5 dollar fee for road use up to the observatory. Gah well we’re here now let’s just drive up. We paid the extremely chirpy girl who skipped out to us from her cabin and proceeded on up a great steep windy single track road – I was disappointed we weren’t walking but enjoying the driving anyway – to the top. And what views we had! We were higher than we thought and it was bloody windy, although still pretty hot. We spent some time selfie sticking with the amazing blue lake in the background and then the impressive mountain range from all the other angles. It really was breathtaking. We went for a little wander along some tracks and then I got a bit hangry probably the same time Javi did so we returned and had a big fat sandwich in Joe, using the little table we put up inside, with the wind shaking him from side to side.
After lunch our next stop wasn’t far away at Lake Pukaki – again we were treated to crystal bright blue waters and amazing colours. From here we switched and it was Javis turn to take the wheel…! Nah he did fine and we made our way past Twizel (I just wanted to include the name, I love it) with hot hot sun.
I don’t need to say that along these drives we were stopping at anything that looked interesting – on this particular stretch we stopped at a sign called Lindis Pass Summit thinking oh cool let’s have a walk to a summit but actually it was just a little 300m walk to an info point. Nonetheless met a lovely older kiwi couple who were driving a big old bus campervan to Cromwell – the guy had gone off over the fence up the hill after a geocache haha!
We made it to our destination for the day a bit later – Wanaka. This town is really cool – we instantly liked the traveller feel of it and blended in with the tons of tourists walking up and down the lakefront streets. We stopped in the first cool pub we saw and I had THE tastiest cider with strawberry and melon and something else made for me, mm mm. A fish and chip shop caught our eye and we were sunk for dinner already. First night away and we were buying dinner! Oh but it was good. Really good. We’d already looked up a place to stay in the next town on the river for 7 dollars a night each so wrapped up our fish and chips, bought some cider and beer and trundled off. Our home for the night was on the waterside in Albert Town, only about 10 mins drive from Wanaka, just much cheaper and quieter. We parked right on the water and stuffed our food down, naughtily sharing it with the overly friendly ducks – I thought they were going to jump in the truck at one point.
Our first night away had us laying in the very comfy huge bed looking at the stars through the windows and skylight above us. Well, Javi was looking at them. I’d taken my glasses off at this point so to me they were a sparkly blur…