Thursday, May 1, 2014



executive summary by darmansjah

To be honest, I’ve never really given a thought to self-drives up till now, and thus far, our New Zealand ride has proven to be nothing more than glorious. Roads are easy to navigate, signs are clear and planted well in advance to any impending curves or dips, and although I’m probably seeing more sheep than humans (it’s a 12 to one ratio!)-I’m beginning to understand Peter Jackson’s desire to bring the fantasy of J. R.R. Tokien alive. Of rolling pastures, intense forestry, snow-capped peaks and alpine lakes, my newly found friends Kiwi-born Toscha and Australian Duncan whom I met on the trip probably sums it up best. 

“We watched LOTR and just thought ‘okay that’s the show that put  us on the world map, the places must all be heavily digitally enhanced.’ Then one day we landed in Christchurch and went straight to the mountains and realized, ‘hey nothing’s changed at all!’”

Cruising along, I ask Shona where her favorite South Island haunt is and without skipping a beat she declares, ‘Lake Tekapo’. And although my job has exposed me to numerous pictures of the aforementioned lake, nothing could have prepared me for the real deal. Like a postcard-perfect picture with the majestic Southern alps opening up the curtains to reveal the main show, Lake Tekapo is flawless perfection, a testament to God’s handicraft in the beginning of times. I gingerly make my way across the uneven rocks towards the crystal clear turquoise waters, which are peaceful and breathtaking all at once. To the side is the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in memorial of the mostly farming pioneers of the Mackenzie country. An active church with regular Christian services, many who have visited also choose to return for their wedding ceremonies, or have their baptisms conducted as well.

Enjoy a refreshingly energizing soak in a hot pool at Tekapo Springs, boasting superb views of Lake Tekapo, after which you can opt for a rubdown at the Day Spa, or take a spin at the outdoor ice rink

If you love your salmons fresh, head to Mt Cook alpine Salmon’s Farm, a 20-minute drive from Tekapo township where you can join farm tours, fish feeding sessions and get your hands on some of the freshest farmed salmon sourced from the Tekapo Canal.

For more information on TEKAPO, log on to

Where to eat PEPPERS BLUE WATER RESORT located right opposite lake tekapo, this is a great place to ge lunch settled while stopping on the way to and from Wanaka. Sourcing fresh ingredients locally, Rakinui Restaurant gets salmon from High Country Salmon and free-range pork and venison from Pleasant Point Butchery – all within an hour from Peppers. Our favourite tummy warmers; seafood chowder, beer-battered fish and chips sloshed down with a thick iced mocha (from US$7.30).

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