Days 14,15, and 16
We left the busy adrenaline city behind us and headed to Dunedin. Our fist top on the road was the historical town of arrowtown for a glimpse of the way things used to be. The colors of fall there were beautiful and the town was out of a storybook but it was terribly cold that morning so we did not stay out walking around for long just enough time to get a cup of hot tea.
From arrowtown we headed off along the old gold mining trail through Central Otago the scenery was beautiful. We arrived in the city known as ‘Edinburgh of the South’ or Dunedin shortly before 4pm(a bit later than originally scheduled due to a few set backs along the way but we made it non the less). This city was modeled after Edinburgh Scotland with a wonderful mixture of Victorian colonial history and contemporary cafes and bars. This city also provides a great base to explore the largest variety of wildlife in the south island. So once we had dropped off at the few hostels it was time to jump on the shuttle to the Elm Wildlife Tour. This tour took us over to the Otago Peninsula to spot Yellow-eyed penguins, Albatross, sea lions and fur seals. It was a great night complete with a beautiful sunset on our way home!
We left Dunedin early the next morning and headed for lake Tekapo. Our first stop was only 15minutes into our drive at Baldwin Street. This is the world’s steepest street! It was really steep. We got the chance to walk up it and it was funny to see that there was a bench and drinking fountain at the top for those who need a rest after climbing the street. There were even steps along the side of it for those who couldn’t just climb up or down on the road. After telling John about what we did he got curious and let me know that the fastest someone had ever ran up and down Baldwin street was 1minute and 56second. And I have to say I could never do that! I ran down it for a second and was a scared I was going to fall and roll all the way down I can’t imagine racing it!
From Baldwin Street we headed to the Moeraki Boulders, these boulders are unlike any I have ever seen; they are known for their unique spherical shape and the way they are scattered along the beach.
Then we continued on our way with a few stops in small towns for lunch and a supermarket stop because the town of Lake Tekapo is very very small. Just before we got to the town and Hostels in Lake Tekapo we stopped on the outskirts of the lake because it was such a clear day we had a wonderful view of Mt Cook, which is the tallest Mt in New Zealand.
We got to Lake Tekapo in time to just hang out for a few hours before we all got together and made a wonderful BBQ dinner. We had all pitched in some money when we stopped at the supermarket for some hamburgers and potatoes and a few different salads. It was a great dinner and fun to make with friends from the bus. After clean up we got all our warm clothes on and headed for the observatory on Mt John. This was INCREDIBLE we had to turn the headlights on the bus off about 2/3 of the way up the hill because the lights could damage the telescopes and mess with our night vision. Only red flashlights were allowed to be used in the observatory. We got an amazing night for the observatory so clear not a cloud in the sky. We got to see the Milky Way like I have never seen it before and a few shooting stars. The infamous Southern Cross was pointed out to us all and we got to see Saturn through a telescope. I loved ever second of being up there the stars are just breath taking when you can see that many all at once. Our God is a big God to have placed all those stars up there and know them all by name. We got to look through a telescope at a very dull star that was actually a million little stars and that just proved how vast the nights sky is.
We got home very late from the observatory nearly 1am! I got the chance to skype my mom for few minutes which was nice before bed and then it was of to sleep for a night bright and early start the next day. I did get the chance to get up early and snap a few “sunrise” pictures before we headed out. and I say “sunrise” because the sun hadn’t really come up yet because we left so early. Over all a great two days of the trip filled with more new and amazing experiences!