Day 35 – climbing out of Dunedin to the breathtaking Lake Tekapo

On our way out of Dunedin on the Magic Bus we stopped at Baldwin Street, the Steepest Street in the World as verified by the Guinness Book of Records. I was a bit of a sceptic as we have some very steep streets back home in Cape Town but after walking up to the top I had to concede it is very steep, at its steepest it has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 or 19°.

Baldwin Street - The Steepest Street in the World

Our next stop was Koekohe Beach where you find these unusually large and spherical boulders lying on the beach. Known as the Moeraki Boulders they are quite incredible to see with the larger ones up to two metres in diameter.

the unusual, spherically shaped, Moeraki Boulders

After picking up some provisions in the historic wool town of Oamaru we headed inland up towards the mountains and the beautifully blue coloured glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Country. The surreal blue hue of the lakes is the result of glacial dust, rocks that have been ground down beneath the ice floes, suspended in the water. We got our first look at this at Lake Pukaki where you can get fantastic views across to Mt Cook but unfortunately it was overcast when we arrived but this did provide the rather dramatic setting for this photo.

looking across to Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki

Just  around the corner we pulled into Lake Tekapo our overnight stop and before settling into the hostel Gregg took us down to the water’s edge and the Church of the Good Shepherd which is a quaint old building with this amazing view behind its altar.

looking out over Lake Tekapo from the Church of the Good Shepherd

After checking in to the Lakefront Backpackers Lodge I went straight out to make the most of the rest of the afternoon and hiked up to the top of Mount John to get some unbelievable views of the lake and surrounding Mackenzie Basin.

panorama of the view while hiking up Mt John

view from a log looking out over the Mackenzie Basin

It was very cold and there was still snow in areas of shadows along the path but the clouds cleared and I was rewarded with some of the most amazing views of my whole trip with great light in the late afternoon sunshine. I’ll let these photos do the talking.

resting at the top of Mt John watching the sunset

looking down on the turquoise Lake Tekapo in the fading light

a tuft of grass on top of Mt John

panorama of the serene, turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo

reflections in the still waters of Lake Tekapo

I didn’t want to leave the sunset from the top of Mt John but I had been put in charge of the braai for our group meal  so I had to get back down to the hostel. A bit late I had to run back down through the forest.

running back down from the observatory after sunset

As I emerged from the forest on the shores of Lake Tekapo in front of our hostel the colour was even better in the evening light so I spent several minutes taking these photos, the hamburgers could wait.

panorama of Lake Tekapo at sunset

sunshine catching the snow-capped peaks across Lake Tekapo

After the light had finally faded I got back to the hostel to find the rest of the bus hard at work in the kitchen preparing what turned out to be a massive feast that we didn’t even finish half of so when we were done we offered it to the other backpackers in the hostel who were happy to get a free meal.

Gregg & The Magic Bus travellers preparing our feast


About Rory Alexander

Ever growing blogger that spent 2 years in living in China, then 6 weeks backpacking around New Zealand and is now back home in South Africa for the foreseeable future.
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14 Responses to Day 35 – climbing out of Dunedin to the breathtaking Lake Tekapo

  1. lostbearings says:

    Cool pictures Rory. You had quite an adventure! I will be sure to add New Zealand to traveling list.

  2. Pommi says:

    i like your pics..its like shots from Lord of the Rings…
    New Zealand is a fascianting place…I had, well still have plans of settling in NZ, though I have never been to the country….

  3. bananabatman says:

    You have photographed some wonderful views in this post. Well done and thank you for sharing with us. We have several friends who have visited NZ, but we have so far been deterred by the length of flight to get there. Maybe we should reconsider.

  4. TBM says:

    I’m loving your photos. I wish I was on the trip with you, but at least I can follow along.

  5. Love the boulder picture 🙂

  6. Suzy says:

    Wow! Those views would certainly be worth being late for dinner. Those boulders are pretty remarkable as well.

  7. James Cook says:

    Great photos, New Zealand is such a great country. So much to see and do in such a small geographic area!

  8. magicofmine says:

    The Moeraki Boulders picture is just perfect!

  9. Oh wow, these photos make me really homesick!!!! Glad you loved New Zealand – we’re all pretty fond of our little patch of paradise. Its great to be out seeing the amazing world but we definitely know how lucky we are in NZ.

  10. Pingback: THE FRIDAY FEATURE: Camping in the Kgalagadi | Thirdeyemom

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