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Reisverslag Mountains, at last!!!!
27 januari 2014
Mountains, at last!!!!
They guy at the reception was right……it is beautiful weather and the flacks have disappeared, unbelievable!
The weather is even gorgeous, a little present from New Zealand a few days before we leave…..
We will only have a short drive today about 70 km to Lake Tekapo where we will stay for the day; this time we should have a magnificent view of the Southern Alps included…finally….Mount Cook….
But first we make a small detour to the Meridian Rowing Centre right next to the camp ground. We saw a sign leading to this centre yesterday at the entrance of the campground and Michelle as former (Aegir-)rower would really like to see that. From the main road she saw a glance already and it looked like heaven for a rower.
It is! A lane through high pine trees with on either side dozens of stowed boats in between the trees and big boards with (probably) the rowing heroes of New Zealand, leads to a small square with a few buildings around. The facilities look wonderful.
Set on the shores of Lake Ruataniwha (one of the hydro storage lakes) this centre has a 2000 meter, purpose-built rowing course with eight lanes that, we read, are fully buoyed throughout the year. The water is turquoise, the landscape is magnificent with wild, bare and untouched hills and snow capped mountains in the background. The only sound we hear is produced by two coaches who, in a motor boat follow three “eights” and shout them to the finish.
It looks like Papendal (a Dutch sporting centre for the top-sportsmen and -women) but then just for rowers.
It says at several places: “It all started here” and “Generating Champions”; no doubt that’s possible here!
And then……will we finally be able to admire the Southern Alps in their full splendor?.....
Yes, about ten minutes after having left Twizel the Alps start to appear at the horizon. We drive through a wild empty landscape.
We’re surrounded by bare hills and mountains and because of the cold weather and rain of yesterday even a lot of the hills are covered with snow, a magnificent sight in the sunshine!
At the basis of Lake Pukaki, again one of those beautiful turquoise lakes, we get the best view of Mount Cook and the surrounding Alps and make a stop to admire the landscape.
From this point we could go all the way to Mount Cook but with a van we can only return by the same way back again and Willem’s brain starts to be “full” and we decide to go on to the next lake, find a place early there and enjoy our time outside at the lake in stead of inside the car.
The campground is a wonderful one built in terraces against the shore of Lake Tekapo.
When we arrive the lake is surrounded by hills and mountains covered by snow but the lady at the reception tells us that that is absolutely not normal.
We decide to have a walk along the lake to the village. It’s a small town, clearly well visited by people who like to walk, cycle or participate in water sports with several nice shops. It’s much livelier than many other villages we visited.
It starts to warm up and when we return a few hours later we have our jackets around the waists and the snow on most of the hills has vanished!
This will be our last evening and night in our lovely temporary house. We feared that we would have to give or throw away our very-good-looking saté’s, already bought a few days ago and waiting for us in the fridge but we are very happy that we can finish our campervan-trip by using the built in barbecue once more!
But first we take a drink on the terrace, provided by the campground for people to have a drink, to barbecue (almost everywhere there in New Zealand the campgrounds have kitchen, barbecues and living rooms for the campers) and eat, with a splendid view on the lake.
The people at the table next to ours are French. They just started their holiday in New Zealand and are happy with all our unused, unfinished stuff (coffee, sugar, spices, etc.) which we don’t need any more.
There are a lot of French tourists in New Zealand by the way, and even more Germans. Very few Dutchmen. But by far most campers are New Zealanders who enjoy their own country. It gives us the opportunity to chat with “locals” which is always very nice.
We mentioned here above the wonderful facilities on the camp grounds; an other quality is the fact that it’s so quiet. Even during school holidays after 9 it’s quiet everywhere. Never once we heard drunk or loud people. Quite an example for the european campgrounds….
We already packed this afternoon so in a bit an empty van we go to sleep for the last time.