We were woken up early with the full moon shining in the window, which was a good sign given that there was low cloud last night and no sign of the moon. Out of bed at 7:15, and looking east I could see the first light starting to turn the scattered clouds a faint pink colour.
There were signs of a light frost as we started to walk along the road back towards Hakatere, trying to get a clearer shot of the mountains to the north east, which were partially hidden by Mt Guy. We probably walked about a kilometre down the road to a better spot. And waited for the sunrise. We weren't disappointed. And we only had to move once for a passing truck in the hour or so we stood in the middle of the road.
Walked back to camp about 8:45 and had some breakfast, and packed up.
Headed back out of the Ashburton Lakes, back down through Mt Somers and turned south along the straight roads that are typical of the Canterbury Plains, We crossed the Rangitata River at Arundel then turned off north up into the Peel Forest area. We drove to Mt Peel Station to look at the memorial church in the Station grounds, but sadly it was covered in scaffolding for renovation/repair. So we headed back down the road a bit and walked up to Acland Falls, which were a bit disappointing given the low recent rainfall, but a pleasant walk through the bush anyway.
Back to the van and back through Peel Forest, and carried on south towards Geraldine. We stopped just short of town at a café / farm produce shop, and used the opportunity to catch up on the news / emails. There is a surprising lack of mobile / internet coverage in areas that we had been staying, so any chance to 'reconnect' was taken.
Drizzle was still falling as we headed into Geraldine proper and had a brief stop for some more supplies.
We took a brief detour off the main road just south of Geraldine and headed up into Pleasant Valley to look at St Anne's Church, a pretty little church in amongst trees, but sadly the drizzle / cloud didn't lend itself to great photos.
Back on the road and wound our way through the hills and into Fairlie, and then up and over Burke's Pass and into the Mackenzie Basin. The weather had cleared now but there was bit of a northwesterly blowing. Drove into Tekapo (our stop for the night, and our first 'powered' night in the van), we checked in to the Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park, which sits on a plateau over looking the south end of the lake, and hooked up at about 3pm.
Out again about 4pm, headed over to Lake Alexandrina. This lake is a wildlife refuge on the other side of Mt John from Tekapo, and has 2 little 'villages' of baches/cribs; one on the east side of the lake, and the other (where we headed) on the south shore of the lake. We turned off the sealed road, through a gate, and drove about 10 minutes down to the village and the lake edge. All along the lake are short jetties which always look nice in a picture. So we parked up beside the lake, had a coffee and a sit in the sun and waited for sunset. The clouds in the sky were doing crazy things so we were hopeful of a good show.
Sunset came and went with virtually no colour, so we packed up our gear and headed out again. We were sitting beside the lake for about 2 hours, in a village with about 30 houses, and saw the sum total of 10 ducks, 2 rabbits and no people.
Back into Tekapo to the camp, parked up again, got the chargers going for the phones, batteries etc and then walked 10 minutes along the road to Tekapo Springs hot pools ($25 ea) for a soak at round 6pm.
Back to the camp @ 7:30 for some dinner and a rest.