After five days in the lovely little village of Arrowtown, I decided to head towards Lake Tekapo. The four hour Intercity Bus journey from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo was long but we took a few breaks along the way. I got a front seat on the bus, as I requested, and was able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery in the early morning sunshine on the way.
I always travel around New Zealand with an Intercity Bus Flexipass, which is an hours-based bus pass designed for backpackers and independent travellers. I have a full British and New Zealand driver’s license, which I converted in 2014 when I was living there but it’s been four years since I last drove a car, so I prefer to travel by bus. It’s quite a cheap way to travel and when travelling on my own, it’s a great way to meet both Kiwis and visitors on these bus journeys.
Old colleagues of mine who I worked with in Lake Tekapo told me that I’d notice a big change in the village. When I left there in May 2015 the local council had started to develop the village and construction on the waterfront area was underway. I wondered what it would be like now, four years later. There have been some major changes such as the building of a big, new YHA hostel on the waterfront, opening in May 2019, a new Earth and Sky Astronomy Centre, with an expected opening in July 2019, a large Four Square supermarket near the carpark and the footbridge crossing the Tekapo river from the village along the lake front, over to the Church of the Good Sheperd.
A few new sub-divisions (residential areas) have also been built around the village. One thing I was happy about was the fact that they had kept the view of the waterfront pretty clear. For me that is one of the prettiest parts of the village and the view from there is stunning. There have been queries as to whether the village will be able to handle this new development as they don’t really have the infrastructure to cope with the expected influx of visitors and residents to the area. That will be interesting to see in the near future.
When I was in Lake Tekapo I caught up with a few ex-colleagues of mine from Earth and Sky Limited. A friend of mine, Wendy and I had lunch at the Astro Cafe at the top of Mt. John and spent a few hours in the hot pools at Tekapo Springs. I did a few walks in the area and went to a Japanese restaurant, called Kohan, which is THE BEST restaurant in the village. The weather was glorious: 18 degrees, with bright blue skies and I was very lucky to get two crystal clear nights and saw the Milky Way in all its glory in the dark skies of Lake Tekapo. It was lovely to get back here, even though it was only for two nights. It brought back some great memories of when I was living there.