Sometimes, when we meet locals on the road, they say something that’ll stick with us forever. Like “Fluff in the crack”, Lake Tekapo and it’s weary-eyed campers will stay warm in my mind for years to come.
On the road from Lake Pearson campsite to Lake Tekapo, we stopped off at the famous Sheffield Pie Shop.
On a miserably cloudy day, the rain drizzled around us as we stood and ate our pies beneath an umbrella outside the shop. With a warm Steak and Cheese pie in my almost-blue hands, I bit into the crispy pastry, with cheesy steak dripping down my arm into the comfort of my jacket. Mark gave the lambs-fry pie a thumbs up, as he too dropped some of the meaty-goodness onto his pants.
If you find yourself driving through Sheffield. Stop and get a pie.
When we got to Lake Tekapo after a long drive along the inland scenic route, we headed straight for Tekapo Springs. For $31NZD each, we grabbed entry to the pools, sauna and steam room.
The plan was to spend a very well deserved afternoon in the hot pools with the beautiful mountain vistas around us. Why well deserved, do you ask? Because yesterday we conquered a freakin’ mountain.
Sitting in 38 degree water, with views of the lake and mountains in front, and pine trees behind, it’s safe to say Tekapo Springs truly will ease up your sore muscles after a demanding hike in New Zealand.
Lake Tekapo doesn’t have anywhere near as many campsites on offer for travellers, but with the Britz Roadtrip app we were able to find a spot right beside Lake McGregor, just around the corner from Tekapo. Thanks to the reviews online, we too were able to enjoy the serenity of Tekapo – without hundreds of tourists.
There are three campsites to choose from here; Lake Alexandria, Lake McGregor, and Godley Peaks Rd Lakeside Campsite. We chose to park the van up on the shores of the lake at Godley Peaks, along with a fair few other travellers that were keen to see the famous night skies above Tekapo.
As we sat behind the van, swatting away at the sandflies on the bits of skin unfortunate enough to show, two young locals from Invercargil rode their bikes over to Mark and I.
“What’s the local chit?”
“Say what?” Mark replied to the young kid, who was sporting a pair of shorts and a mullet.
“Thet’s what we sey round here. Y’know, what’s goin’ on?”
“Not much ay, this is a pretty sweet spot! You from around here?” I said back to the young one.
“Nah, we’re from Invercargil. A few hours further south.”
Another youngster pulled up beside him, this time, much younger.
“You guys got any keds?” He asked.
“Uh, no. How old do you think we are?” We responded, part laugh, part feeling like old-folk.
“You look at-least 27 or 30.”
Offended, we chose to giggle and accept these kids didn’t want our company, they were hoping we had some offspring for them to show around.
Before riding off to find new friends, the youngster looked back at us, “Do you know what ‘fluff in the crack’ means?”
“See those clouds over there,” pointing in the distance, “when they sit in between the mountains like that, it means that tomorrow will be a good day.”
On the menu for this particular evening, we had two-minute noodles and some beef to cook up.
As we huddled behind the van, sheltering ourselves from the frosty wind, waiting for the water to boil, a Chinese man approached us, and with broken english, he insisted we drink his booze.
Pointing at a white bottle (which kinda looked like washing machine liquid) he says, “Number 1 drink in China.”
He runs back to his Discovery, grabbing a tiny glass for Mark to shot the drink out of.
Before taking a sip, Mark looks him in the eye, and gestures taking a shot. The man nods.
Mark throws down the tiny glass of who-knows-what.
“No, no, no!” Says our new friend, now gesturing a small sip.
It wasn’t long before Mark’s face started to go red, I could tell he felt un-easy about our new mate, but he continued to sip from the tiny cup to avoid offending him.
His young daughter stood beside him, watching as we exchanged confused looks through broken language barriers, and after giving us the silent treatment for at-least 15 minutes, she came over and held my hand.
Now, feeling a little uneasy myself, I wasn’t too sure what to do. I’m not the affectionate type, so holding hands isn’t really my thang. But I can’t upset a 3 year old kid.
We sat and watched as the sun set behind the mountains, and hopped into bed around 10:30pm, right when the wind chill picked up, and the sun had FINALLY left us.
I put an alarm on for 1:00am, so that we could wake to see the world famous Tekapo stars shining in the sky.
When we woke in the middle of the night, above us we could see the milky way, a few globular clusters, and every single star visible to the naked eye.
I’d show you a picture, but I haven’t mastered nighttime photography.
Where to next? Mount Cook.
Where we stayed:
Godley Peaks Rd Lakeside Campsite. There’s a good gravel road to get there and plenty of spots to park the van by the water, or up on the grass.
How long does it take to get there:
If you’re doing the same road-trip as us, it should take approximately 4hrs to get from Arthur’s Pass to Lake Tekapo.