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South Island Road Trip * day four * Lake Tekapo

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We had initially planned to camp the South Island... that would have been a very unwise decision for April. Some significant budget changes needed to be made when we realized that warmth would need to be a priority. I thought our next best option would be the youth hostel/ backpacker route... but quickly realized that (for our family of six) - renting homes was most cost effective.

For example... if we were to say at The Lake Tekapo Youth Hostel  we would need to pay for all the beds in a six person shared dorm room. With the YHA discount it would be $30.60 per person - $183.60 total. This house cost us $180. Sorry for the nitty-gritty money details - but thought it might be pertinent info for someone planning to see the South Island.

So... we woke up (thankful and warm) at our second lovely bach. The owners of this home also run the Balmoral Farmyard and Shop. The kids were beyond excited to learn that there was a "petting zoo" in our front yard. The shop sells clothing made from the merino sheep that reside on the "estate". Lexie's Lodge (named after the owners very friendly farm dog) was modern, clutter free, cozy, kid friendly and it had a loft... who doesn't love a loft?

Balmoral farmyard
Balmoral shop
There are some down sides to renting-a-dent. Sometimes you have to take it into town to get fixed. We dropped the car off and walked to the lake. The kids found a great flying fox (zip line) to entertain themselves and everyone had a good time throwing rocks for an hour. We walked back to the house and fed animals while Ben walked to pick up the van. A quick lunch at the house and then off to find some fish.

The flying fox... a common playground accessory in NZ. Very popular with the Goodgame kids.
Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau are glacial fed lakes that source a large hydro electric power station. There are several canals that run from the lakes to the station... the constant flow of oxygen rich water makes for good fishing. Apparently, there is a rather healthy population of lovely large brown trout... we didn't have the pleasure of meeting any of them. Mount Cook Salmon operates a fresh water salmon farm on one of the canals we visited. Ben and Max were hoping to catch one of the stragglers that wandered away from the farm - no luck. Maggie, Jude, Jonah and I went for a walk while the boys fished - more beautiful vistas.

We had some dinner and then set off for a special trip to Tekapo Springs. I got chatting with a mother daughter pair while we were swimming. Turns out the daughter was a friend of a friend. It's a small world after all.

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