All good things must come to an end, so they say… and sadly, this was the day we were to head home….
BUT… a couple of things to do on our way…
We had hoped for a dusting, or even more, of snow in the morning at Tekapo. Alas, it was just another hard frost with snow just out of reach on the nearby hills. The weather was obviously cold but not too windy for a drive up to Mt John. I had hoped to do some star gazing at the observatory on Mt John the previous night but it was closed due to which winds so we star-gazed from the hot pools instead.
I still needed to take Rosemary and Steve to the lookout anyway so that is where we headed after breakfast. Well, I’ve never been so cold… 4 layers of thermals and/or wool and I could still feel the cold on my skin! Luckily Jim was alert to the wind direction and strength or the vehicle door could have been swiped off it’s hinges! There are brilliant views to be seen from the top but, after a quick walk around the cafe (the outside, that is) to see all that can be seen, a few “must-have” photos and we were really pleased to jump back in the vehicle and Jim and someone else enjoyed the luxury of the heated seats!
Another mandatory stop was at the church and the sheepdog [Info spot: to honour collies which the Scottish shepherds brought out with them to farm in the area.] on Tekapo Lake shore.
The wind wasn’t as bitter down here though we weren’t tempted to wander for long. Jim and Steve had a chat to the church “caretaker” of the day while Rosemary and I wandered and took just one or two photos before taking a short drive around the eastern shore of lake. The Caretaker suggested a Pie stop on the way home …. we must do that as it will be our last chance.
And then we really did feel like it was homeward bound.
Burke’s Pass is a quaint village with a group of unusual “shops” clustered on a bend in the road. And not far past that is Fairlie where it really does feel like we are “nearly home.” However, it is in Fairlie that we “must stop” to sample our final pies. The Bakehouse is the home of Lieber Pies, hand-filled with imagination, and well-known for many miles around. I needed to compare the “Pepper Steak” with Sheffield’s “New York Pepper Steak”…. very close but I did feel Sheffield’s pie had a slight winning margin – though, as I said, I am definitely not a pie connoisseur! We also tried the “Pork & Apple pie” and decided the pork would be better “pulled” rather than in chunks.
At Rakaia it was time for leg-stretch… jolly cold out of the car so that was short-lived! And then the most boring (actually, only boring) part of our journey…
We arrived home to gale-force winds and a very cold house… tempted to carry on and come back when we felt more welcome!
So, here ends my South Island travel blog. Would I repeat the trip? Absolutely! Would I travel with the same company? Well, we became such a well-oiled machine, who wouldn’t?… chef and shopper on board, dishes, breakfast, lunches, driver, packing, etc all down to a fine art… Next time I will ask Steve to cook with Rice Bran Oil, though, as I believe that has a higher smoking temp and we mightn’t have to open so many doors and windows just when we are trying to warm up a unit on a cold night! And I will ensure all units have separate bathrooms – not walk-through-bedroom ones – and well-equipped kitchens. And Jim will fix the CD player in the vehicle so we can have some music to sing along to – especially when we’ve heard enough of his “stories from long ago”! And Rosemary, well…. she can continue making perfect sandwiches and showing so much appreciation when it’s her turn to sit in the front on the heated seat!