Day 36 – Lake Tekapo to Christchurch, my last day on the Magic Bus

We had an early start on the Magic Bus because of the earthquake damage in Christchurch they now don’t overnight there and instead have to get all the way up to Kaikoura. I however would be getting off in Christchurch as my 5 week adventure had come to an end. Knowing this I got up early for one last chance to take some photos of the awe-inspiring Lake Tekapo at sunrise and it didn’t disappoint.

dawn over a still Lake Tekapo

Walking down to the edge of the lake I was spellbound as the sun rose from behind the snow-capped peaks reflected in the still water. What a magical end to my New Zealand adventure

panorama of dawn on the shore of Lake Tekapo

the first light catching the pine trees

lens flare at sunrise over Lake Tekapo

a silhouette of me at sunrise on a chilly morning in Lake Tekapo

As our departure time drew near I once again had to tear myself away from this serene spot and climb aboard the Magic Bus for the last time. Our route took us across the Canterbury Plains to Geraldine, the home of Barker’s fruit preserves which made the perfect gift for the family friends who I would be staying with again for a couple of days before my long flights back to South Africa.

I arrived back in Christchurch the day after the 1 year anniversary of the 4 September 2010 earthquake that kicked off a series of seismic events the likes of which haven’t been seen anywhere else. Having experienced one of the thousands of smaller earthquakes myself, shortly after my arrival in New Zealand and having spent some time with friends who have been affected by the earthquakes I came to have real empathy with the residents of Christchurch. To give you just a taste of the effect these earthquakes have had on Christchurch and it’s residents, here is a powerful video with dramatic footage of the damage and reconstruction of Christchurch together with a very emotive soundtrack.


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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10 Responses to Day 36 – Lake Tekapo to Christchurch, my last day on the Magic Bus

  1. bananabatman says:

    Sad to come to the end of the road. Thanks for the story.

  2. Geraldine says:

    Really enjoying reading back over all the places, brings back lovely memories! Fabulous photos too – I will be emailing you about those photos shortly!


  3. The Lake Tekapo photos are wonderful! So glad we shared our country with you! Best wishes for your travels.

  4. Suzanne Thurston says:

    Rory..I spent the entire day reading your New Zealand blog. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I wish I could vote for you but alas the voting has ended. Your detailed writing and beautiful photos are so inspiring. You are the Magic Bus BEST advert! seriously

    Like you, I just returned from a 34 day trip to China, Tibet and Cambodia and New Zealand is the next place on my bucket list. I live 30 minutes north of San Francisco, so it’s a 12 hour non-stop flight to Auckland. I’m thinking about a 3+ week Magic Bus start in Auckland, go north, then down to Queensland and perhaps fly to Fiji or Naranatu…I would skip the bus trip from Queensland back to Auckland.

    Question: I’m a 67 year old female, traveling alone; I’m a good walker. Would I be out of place on the Magic Bus? all the pics the folks are under 30, well except for the really drunk guy who befriended you in a bar! I would like to stay at the hostels but want a single room, totally game to share the bath etc. If the Magic Bus is too youth based, is there a good alternative service?

    Thanks again for sharing your trip with us. And I look forward to your thoughts about me doing most of your trip as well.

    Happy Trails,
    Suzanne T.
    Sonoma County … The California Wine Country

    • Hi Suzanne,
      It’s my pleasure I’m glad you enjoyed reading it and New Zealand is as beautiful as the photos make it look.
      You’ve already been to China however if you enjoyed this blog you might like read my China blog detailing my experiences and travels while I lived there over the past two years. Blog here:

      RE: your question
      I don’t think you would be out of place on the Magic Bus, while most of the people are younger, I found it a pretty mature crowd unlike one of the other popular bus companies that has a reputation of students on gap holidays just out for a party rather than enjoying the country. You seem like an outgoing person and I’m sure you would have no problems making friends with other people on the bus and if there is a group that annoys you you could always stay an extra few days somewhere and wait for the next bus. Or you might find some people you like travelling with and change your schedule to stay on the same bus as them.
      Most of the hostels did have the option to have your own room although often it was a twin/double bed room so if you wanted it to yourself you would have to pay double so it could get expensive.
      I’ll be honest I’m not sure of good alternative to the Magic Bus as I didn’t try any of the others, however I had heard the best reviews about Magic Bus as well as being recommended it by two separate people that I met in Malaysia over 5 days on my way to New Zealand which is what made my decision for me and I have no regrets.
      As for your trip it sounds good, some of my favourite places were Kaikoura and Lake Tekapo from a beauty point of you so if you could get to those I would recommend it and you could investigate flying out of Christchurch. Otherwise I met a few people who were travelling to Fiji after NZ and it looks amazing I just didn’t have the budget.

      I hope that has answered your question and if there is anything else just shout.



  5. Pommi says:

    Hi Rory

    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I like your all your blogs…keep travelling, keep writing…


  6. Pingback: Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo « Rory Alexander Photography

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