Kake atu i te maunga – Up the mountain

The sun rises quite late here during winter. This morning’s sunrise was at about 10 past 8, and we were awake to see it, at the base of Mt John ready for our hike.


While watching the sunrise, Davey boiled up some water on his portable camping stove (which looks a little bit like a robot spider) and we had a cup-a-soup for a pre-hike breakfast.

I am not an outdoors person. Neither am I a mountain goat. I have short legs and get asthma in cold weather. I am not the ideal candidate for hiking at all, let alone 322m vertically over 2300m horizontally (average gradient of 14%) in 4ºC.

The gradient at the start of the hiking track was something like 20%. I realised about 5 steps in that I had made a grave overestimation of my abilities. My lungs started to burn with cold almost immediately and my heart was racing with a combination of over exertion and panic about how slippery the track was and how steep the fall would be. I wondered why I did this? And then I got my answer when we approached a clearing and saw the pink and blue streaks of sunrise in the sky.



As we ascended, there were some other lovely views to see.




And we added some rocks to the pile to signify that we’d been past.


As we approached the top, the forest cleared to grasslands and the inclined path transformed into a stairway.




When we arrived at the summit, we had planned to stop at the Observatory Cafe for a hot drink and a second breakfast. Unfortunately, we were half an hour early. I took some photos to kill time and then we had a sit down out of the wind.









After we’d been waiting for a little while, a cloud descended upon us, completely changing the view (and climate) in minutes.





Finally, the cafe opened and we got some hot drinks and bagels to sustain us. We were very reluctant to leave the warmth of the cafe, but eventually, we had to begin our descent.

The way down was so much easier. I love gravity! Davey warns me that I won’t love my thighs tomorrow though, but so far they’re okay…

The view was much the same as the way up but we did see a bunny on the way down.


It took just over an hour to make our ascent and about 40 minutes to get back down again.

This was where my gps says we went:


And this is a less flat view of our journey:


It was great to do something that was out of my comfort zone on my holidays. And I think Davey enjoyed the company, at least on the way down, where I wasn’t as painfully slow.

After our exertions we went for a little excursion to the hydro dam where Davey explained that my interpretation of how hydro power worked (which was gained from Sim City 2000) had been wrong for decades.

Davey was mesmerised by the infrastructure but I was more excited by finding that the water was an unreal turquoise colour in the channel.




We had a lazy afternoon in our villa and then wandered down to the tavern for a roast lamb dinner, which I thought was an excellent was to reward ourselves for our hiking effort and a great way to spend our last night in Lake Tekapo.

P.S. I forgot to add that we saw our sneaky feline friend again today. This time he had managed to sneak into someone’s room to take a nap on the bed.


He also walked us back to our villa after we went out for dinner. It was so tempting to let him in for a cuddle, but I resisted.

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