I got an early start the next morning. I knew my way out of the city because it was the same route I drove to work. But instead of turning onto the sidestreet that led to the office, I simply continued south on Rt 1. Although the maps show the roads as highways, they are really much more like two lane state roads here in the States, occassionally widening to three lanes to pass. The route south of Christchurch was flat and and straight and reminded me a bit of riding Rt 1 back home in North Florida.
At Rangitata, I turned right on Rt 79 and headed west towards the mountains. My first destination was Aoraki, aka Mount Cook. I was really glad that I had brought my gear. The asphalt roads are made from coarse gravel and you’d be shredded if you went down.
I rode 79 to the end where it intersects with Rt 8 and continued west towards Lake Tekapo.
In Lake Tekapo, I turned off onto Pioneer Drive, a little side street that paralleled the water and led me to the wonderfully quaint Church of the Good Shepherd. It appeared that a wedding was about to take place, but there were plenty of tourists around as well, so I decided to stop and take some pictures. The view through the alter windows offer magnificent views of the lake.
The waters of the lake flow into the Tekapo Canal which flows 27km to the Lake Pukaki powerhouse. I crossed the canal and continued down Rt 8 to Lake Pukaki where there was a large parking area at the powerhouse at the end of the lake. The photos record the water color accurately. It is turquoise blue, almost milky.