Geraldine to Wanaka

Day 2 of the ride. I still felt very achy and tired. I had a bit of a long day ahead. In terms of mileage it was short if you’re in the United States but the roads here are like in Europe – twisty and winding. Most of the ride went through big sky country – vast open plains with dry brown mountains all around. It looked nothing like the photos of glorious snow-capped mountains that I had seen online so I was a bit bummed. I guess November is a far better time to visit if you want that view. The summer here had been a scorcher so all the snow had melted.

The first fantastic view I had was of Lake Tekapo. So so blue and sparkling. I pulled off the main road to find the old historic church I had read about. I walked up to the lake, snapped a few photos and took off.


Old historic church on the banks of Lake Tekapo


Lake Tekapo



And then came my first holy-crap-that’s-unbelievably-beautiful moment of my trip as I neared Lake Pukaki. Picture a bright lake with misty blue mountains encircling it. Also picture no place to pull over and just drink in the sight! How frustrating! I have never seen anything like it. If there’s a heaven, this is what it looks like.


Lake Pukaki – absolutely marvellous!

I eventually stopped at the designated viewing station, pulled over and got a few photos. I also ran into some local motorcyclists who were really sweet. They gave me their phone number in case I needed any help on the road, and also gave me tips on where to go next. I really love how wonderful all the motorcyclists here have been!


New found friends at Lake Pukaki


Brilliant blue waters of Lake Pukaki

Onwards from Lake Pukaki towards Twizel and Wanaka. Apparently this area was where the scenes from the Pelennor fields in the Lord of the Rings movie had been filmed. With a little imagination, you could almost see it.

I stopped for one more break at Tarras where I found that the local gas station did not sell 95 octane fuel. A few Polish motorcyclists had stopped there and they invited me to join them for coffee. They were fun! They only had two weeks to ride there so they were tearing it up and clocking up high mileage days. They switched between Polish and English and it was fun having a bit of a chat with them.


With a group of Polish motorcyclists riding through the South Island

My last stretch was to just get to Wanaka. It was a cool little town very obviously catering to the outdoors crowd. It made me think of Seattle overloaded.

I got a great dorm room at Base Wanaka and ended up having the entire room to myself. Score! I walked up to the lake – very tired – got some food from a deli and ate it by the water surrounded by seagulls looking at me expectantly. They must get fed by the tourists a lot!


Feed me, human!

I ended the night watching the latest two episodes of The Mindy Project on Hulu. Yay for good wifi in my room!


Base Wanaka dorm room