NZ Day 1 Journal (11/9/16): Clara and I are visiting New Zealand’s South Island for the first time! After flying into Christchurch, renting our car, and learning as quickly as possible to drive on the wrong side of the road, we were off into the beautiful Mackenzie Basin to our first stop: Lake Tekapo…

lake tekapo lupine poppy

Clara enjoying Lake Tekapo’s south bank amidst the early flowering lupines and poppies. In another month, this entire region will be awash in lupines of all colors.

lake tekapo clouds

We also explored the west coast of Lake Tekapo, driving as far as we could down rural country farm roads and admiring the bizarrely blue water.

new zealand sheep lambs

A highlight for us was seeing the many, many fields of sheep and baby lambs. The west coast is very remote, and these babies weren’t accustomed to seeing cars drive by so they were a bit nervous.

lake tekapo white cliffs sheep

More happy sheep, this time far up the east coast of Lake Tekapo. The juxtaposition of the bright sandstone cliffs and the azure waters is striking.

lake tekapo dirt road

The east coast of Lake Tekapo is remote and wild. If you have the time to take the long dirt road through fields of sheep and flowers, the rewards are breathtaking views and the bluest water you’ll ever see.

lake tekapo mt john observatory

Clara and I took the long way up, hiking from the southern shore of Lake Tekapo to the top of Mount John, home of the Mount John Observatory. The view from the top is insane, and we couldn’t be more happy to be in New Zealand!