Departing Christchurch we make our way south to Rangitata via SH 1, before turning inland and stopping at the town of Geraldine for morning tea. Venturing further west we make a number of scenic stops including the famous Dog Kennel Corner where we can get our first glimpse of the spectacular Southern Alps far across the Mackenzie Basin.
Eventually, we arrive in Lake Tekapo for lunch at one of the local restaurants, and then spend an hour or two exploring the area including Lake Alexandrina and around the Church of the Good Shepherd. In the right conditions both lakes exhibit incredibly blue water and stunning reflections.
After lunch we head across to our next stop at Lake Pukaki visitor centre, and then on up SH 80 alongside the lake before stopping at Pete’s Lookout to admire the views of Aoraki and Lake Pukaki combined, eventually arriving at our accommodation in time for check-in and a relaxed afternoon tea. Weather permitting we now explore the local area including a number of easy walking tracks with incredible views whichever way you turn, before returning to the hotel for dinner in one of their fine restaurants. There is the possibility of an attempt at astrophotography after dark, weather permitting, and for those interested.
After a leisurely breakfast, and depending on the weather we have the optional extra of a helicopter flight the length of the Tasman Glacier including a glacier landing, and will further explore and admire the local area before departing and heading for the townships of Twizel, and onto Omarama for lunch. Again weather permitting, we may try for a quick stop at Lake Pukaki visitor centre to see if the lake is calm enough for reflections.
After lunch, we head down the Waitaki Valley towards the coast and past the hydro dams of Lake Aviemore and Lake Waitaki for some amazing reflections across the lakes in the right conditions. Further down the river we cross the Waitaki River itself then emerge via Waimate onto SH 1 just south of Timaru, where we stop for afternoon tea at the beautiful Carolyn Bay before heading back to Christchurch, arriving there late afternoon.
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