Tekapo is a very small city with the cutest church I have seen in NZ. The lake is amazingly turquoise and within one hour, I reached the top of Robert peak where a space observatory is located. The wind is incredibly strong up there… So strong that it is even difficult to walk straight !
I learned there that the place is well known for people watching the stars and even the milky way ! With some people I have just met in the hostel we went away from the lights to see the sky. The darker the sky becomes, the more stars enlightens it. And finally the milky way appeared. An astonishing view that warmed us up as we were all frizzing with the polar wind blowing on our faces. The tea we all took together back in the hostel was more than welcome !
The girls must have missed me as they were on their way to join me again. Together we went on hiking on the shore of the lake but suddenly a storm hit (kiwi weather, you remember ?). The colours were stunning with a dark sky and a bright lake. No picture could catch that splendid landscape… and it made me realize that no picture nor writing could completely transmit what I was experiencing. It is a part of my memory and makes me who I am but I could not explain and describe exactly what I have been through. That is why it is better if you live that moments directly with people you love rather than trying to explain to them afterwards. Sharing adventures (that would become memories) is one of the strongest link you could build between people.
Stopping on that digression, we hit the road to reach the Mount Cook area. Aoraki is the maori name of the Mount Cook and means the mountains that breaks through the clouds. It is the highest summit in Nz with 3724 meters.
Always with the girls we hiked to reach the Mueller hut. After approximately two-third of the ascent, the snow was everywhere and it was difficult to go up on the steep trail while slipping at every step. Not to mention that the sun was gone making the temperature decrease. It was time to head back down. We all had a bitter taste about that aborted hike and decided to hit another trail to reach a glacier. After some days showerless, I headed up to clean myself in the lake down the glacier. It really felt like living into the wild (if you forget all the Chinese taking pictures of my bath).
Then we split again with the girls but for the last time. They threw me on the right road to reach Cromwell and slight tears appeared in my eyes as I was seeing the van leaving. But that blue moment doesn’t last as Jean picks me up. He is a paraglider and he explained me a lot about his passion : clouds, wind, experiences he has lived. After two hours that felt like a couple of minutes I was already in Cromwell. Kira was my host for two nights and she was hosting some three other couchsurfers. Pretty much all of them were hikers and we spent very nice evenings sharing stories and food ! I did some wild hikes, away from the trails, and came across a shepherd shooting some of his flock. The ridges were very nice up there and it was only the night coming that made me go down (well, the perspective of the evening with all the nice folks helped also). Kira had to go to Queenstown. I grabbed the opportunity and jumped in her car. There I stayed at Felipe’s place, always keeping on my couchsurfing trend. He had five roommates and as he was working night time, we shared the same bed. His turn during the day and mine during the night. I met some French bikers at the beach and we spent the night testing the bars. My last night was epic with a lot of drinks and rodeos ! I ended up climbing to fernhill to reach the bed, but the stars were so bright I was captivated by the view and it took me a very long time to finally get under the blankets.
My last hitchhiking took place to reach the airport. I was picked up very quickly by a guy who was exactly going there to meet his own wife. Back home I will definitely pick up each hitchhiker on the road : a great way to travel and meet interesting people. The plane was leaving … the next episode will take place in the Philippines. During the flights I felt both sad and excited. Sad about leaving New Zealand and all the amazing people I have met there. Excited about all the next adventures that will come ! Nevertheless I have absolutely no regret as I have grabbed every opportunity and lived amazing moments. This trip made my horizons and mind widen both by the people I have met and by all the adventures I have been through. Despite my bank account, that have clearly shrinked, I have become way richer in my mind and experiences. Living your dream instead of dreaming your life has no money value anyway !
About the author:
TRAVELER. PHOTOGRAPHER. ATHLETIC. FOND OF MOUTAINS.