From Tekapo we drove to Lake Punakaki which is famed for it's majestic backdrop of Mt. Cook 50 kilometers up its shores. Unfortunately for us this was also when the weather began to change and we had our best view of the mountain right around sunset, but it's peak was still shrouded in clouds. Due to the inclimate weather in New Zealand we would not get another opportunity to see it unfortunately. Nevertheless we drove up to its base and did a short hike in the blustery cold winds and rain up to a swinging bridge, then forced ourselves to turn around. Then off to Wanaka for some more indoor adventures and mountain scenery.
From Christchurch we rented some wheels and headed off on a 13 day tour of the southern south island. We were very excited to check out all the sights we had seen on the postcards and in the picture books. Our first stop was to go the interior lakes region where the turquoise Lakes Tekapo and Punakaki reside. At Lake Tekapo there is a very famous church set right off the water which is in many pictures that you see of New Zealand. It was indeed a very pretty little stone church (probably 20 people can fit inside), and we even arrived as a wedding was just finishing as well. It made for a very pretty scene, although it was quite challenging trying to get some good pictures while hoards of tourists were jumping off their tour buses all trying to do the same. It seemed so surreal to be in such a remote area and yet have so many tourists at one spot. There is definitely a tourist trail in New Zealand.