VISITING THE HEART OF SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Lake Tekapo, a glacial lake of heavenly blue color, was our first major stop after leaving the coast and steering our house on wheels inland and into the heart of the south island. Immediately, we were blown away at our first glimpse of the unnaturally blue colour of the lake and its dry golden brown surroundings which offered a stunning contrast of colours. We fell in love with the view from the get go and determined to find a job as soon as possible, we decided to print our CVs and start walking door to door from one cafe or restaurant to the next.

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We soon realized that Tekapo, as a village adjoining the lake, is in fact very small. A handful of cafes and restaurants, a hotel and a couple of campsites seemed to be our only options for a potential job. The lady at the information centre couldn’t help us with printing our CVs and suggested we try to ask at the hotel next door if we could use their copy machine. And so we did. And after leaving a copy at the hotel, they gave us a call after a couple of hours and we already had a job interview for the following day.

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On the interview, they explained that they were looking for people that could do housekeeping and work in the restaurant. They would offer food and accommodation for 60$/week and a 15$/hour pay rate. Financially, the offer sounded so good that we couldn’t say no and we agreed to work there for the next three months and earn a bit more of that much-needed travel money.

Happy and pleased with how fast we got our new job, we had a good week of time to kill before we started working again. In that week, we explored the close surroundings of the lake and even drove up to Mt John which is a big hill sitting right over the lake. The view from the top was really a magical sensation. We also noticed that there is an observatory built on the top and later we found out that it’s not only the lake that makes Tekapo special; it’s also the stars. The atmosphere in this region is extremely thin and due to the very small level of air and light pollution, Tekapo is one of the best places in the world for stargazing with the naked eye and using a sophisticated telescope like the ones on Mt John. Indeed, we witnessed it first hand, the sky as dark as ever but lit with countless stars and with the milky way visible to our eyes as never before.

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During those days before work, we also visited lake Pukaki and the Mt Cook area. Pukaki blew us away, just as Tekapo did, with its same crazy and unbelievable blue color. We drove the full length of the blue glacial lake, overlooking it, towards New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt Cook. We camped in the national park for a few days and we did many smaller hikes and walks around the valley to get up and close to a number of glaciers and their ice cold lakes coming from within the mountains. Needless to say, it was beautiful as we once again found ourselves admiring the nature that New Zealand has to offer.

Upon returning to Tekapo, eager to start working, we were in for a slightly unpleasant surprise. One that would paint a different picture of the Godley hotel that we expected…

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