Definitely Worth the Stop – Lake Alexandrina

“A Mish a Day” #206 Lake Alexandrina. Lake Tekapo Area. 21.10.2013. Having a summer job down south guiding, and a winter job managing McEwings ski shop in Christchurch, has meant driving to and from Queenstown, Tuatapere or Te Anau countless amounts of times via the inland route (when the weather has let me). On a day with clear skies the drive is hard to beat, as on the journey you drive past the large glacial lakes, Tekapo and Pukaki, with stunning mountain views to be had at each lake. The view north to the head of Lake Tekapo, the Godley Valley and the Macaulay Valley is epic, with the turquoise waters giving way to the large mountains of the Sibbald Range located between the two giant valleys. Apart from a climb of Peak 2163m in the Richmond Range (near Round Hill Ski Field), I usually only stop in Tekapo for fuel, food or both.

With a spare day up my sleeve, I decided to break up the trip to Queenstown with a night in Tekapo, and do some of the day hikes around the lake. Before leaving Christchurch I had a quick look at a map of the Tekapo area, and since I’d never been to the western side of the lake, I planned to head there for the night. The western side of Lake Tekapo is dotted with small lakes, the biggest of which is Lake Alexandrina. I saw a camping ground marked on the map between Lake Alexandrina and Lake McGregor (which is much smaller than Lake Alexandrina), and this turned out to be an awesome little spot. Because of the time of the year the campground was near empty, and I enjoyed a peaceful evening, with the odd visit from a dog belonging to the only other person there. I watched the last of the sun’s rays disappear behind the Gamack Range, and with it the warmth of the day. It was now time to retreat to the comfort and, more importantly, warmth of my bed in my van, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the pleasant little campsite.

Early-ish the next day I was up to make the most of my time there, and I started with a hike around the ‘Trig n Tarn Track’, which gave me outstanding views up the Cass River at Mt Haszard(2213m). Next, I traveled to the western shore of Lake Tekapo to hike the Peninsula Track, and then on up to the observatory at Mt John(1031m). The lake and its surroundings were putting on a show, and on the short walks I started to really understand why Tekapo Village has grown so much over the last ten years or so. I looped back around Mt John(1031m) to end back at the start of the Peninsula Walkway on Godley Peaks Road. All three tracks were very easy, and I would recommend stopping if travelling through Tekapo for a wander, on a clear day you will not be disappointed. With a morning of exploring over it was now time to continue south in search of a summer full of adventures on the Routeburn Track, now with the knowledge that Tekapo is definitely worth the stop when passing through. Not long after leaving Tekapo I drove over Dover Pass to see the green waters of Lake Pukaki, and the mountain king of Aotearoa Aoraki/Mt Cook(3724m), which only reinforced my absolute love for this incredible country hidden away in the South Pacific.

Looking towards the mountains north of Lake Tekapo

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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