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Lakes

The last of New Zealand has been a bit if a wild swimming holiday. A longish drive to Lake Tekapo. We remembered wild camping by the lake last time we were here. We didn’t swim though, not sure why. Absolutely stunning blue! Extraordinarily windy though. We park up, take a photo of the stone church and onwards to a fairly rubbish campsite on the edge of the lakey.  It’s windy and chilly, but we still go for a dip!  The coldest of all the lakes! Onwards the next day, having little desire to stay somewhere where we had to tie the tent to the car to stop it blowing away! Lake Ohau DOC site is basic, consisting of one toilet. On the plus side, it’s free! It’s raining and stuffy in the car. We pull up under a tree and I wind the window down for fresh air. I wind it back up smartish when a swarm of sand flies charge in at the smell of fresh meat. Everyone snipes at everyone, wondering who’s clever idea it was to come here. However? The fact that’s it’s free wins the day, and we brave the nasty nibbles and put up the tent in record time, the 3 diving into the insect proof inner compartment like homing rabbits. We do give the sand flies a chance at a meal while we skim a few stones on the clear lake, and have a quick dip. Beautiful as it is, we push on early next morning. It’s rained a lot, the tent is soggy, our towels are soggy, we are soggy and itchy. Not a cabin to be found. Resigning ourselves to another sogg fest tonight. Herbert Forest doesn’t disappoint, with constant heavy drizzle and dripping trees all around. Sigh. Small bonus is there are alpacas in the field. We go and look at them for a bit, get wet, then bed. The tent is so wet we have to wring it out before putting it in the bag. We are both scratchy. The 3 seem not to notice, and continue their loud games. Dense fog and rain nearly all the way to Dunedin. Then suddenly, as we come over the hill, we cone out of the mist and into Dunedin, bathed in wonderful sunshine!  Sprites lift at once, and contin ye on up as we visit a special cheese store and I leave clutching a prime piece of toothsomness. We have two nights in the tent (which dries out nicely) and two in a cabin. The scooby doo cabin! We watched a friend the children made surf. Walked up (and down) the steepest street. Saw some sealions and visited the albatross centre where we had the biggest, tastiest coffee and hot chocolates. We enjoyed Dunedin. Onwards through the fruit valley, or central otago. Plenty fruit to be had, and we gorged on cherries,  apricots,  nectarines and blueberries. Delicious. I presume most of it gets shipped abroad as the stuff in the supermarkets is a smaller, less tasty version. Nearing Queenstown, and getting weary,  we stumble upon lake  Dunston. Another free doc!  Too windy for the tent so we take a vote. Before we’ve finished voting,  Rio has put a blanket up as a dividing curtain and the 3 start to build a nest in the back. Another night in Pearl! The site is heaving with young backpackers. I am concious of how loud we are! A pleasent swim with no sandflies! The swims are getting better and better! Haven’t had a shower for a while! On our way to queenstown we stop off for r o and paps to do a zip wire! Much fun was had, and e enjoyed taking photos. We look at the loons doing the bungy! O is tempted. Onwards and a night in Queenstown by the lake. The water is warm, clear and enticing. We all swim and paddle around. Lake Wanaka is even better. Pebble beach with beautiful clear, deep water. Glorious temperature. The 3 dive around like duck and we stay 2 night purely for the lake. Geoff remembers the puzzling world and we take the 3 there one morning. We enter the cafe which had loads of puzzles for the dense public to solve. It was almost as much fun watching overtone else failing to solve them as failing yourself!! They love it and we fiddle away for hours. The illusion exhibition is great, and then the maze. By this tme its blisteringly hot. The maze is made of wood, and is in a ‘c’ shape around the cafe and shop. We enter the entry gate and find outselves on and nd hot dusty path serounded by high epidemic fences. R and O insist on doing it on their own and instantly disappear. Geoff wonders off which leaves E and me. She makes the best of it and we strundle off. It’s a two story maze with bridges as well. The idea is to find the four corners and then find the exit. Ther are emergency exits for cravan worms to use (we would not dream of using such chiseling means) which we ignore. We find the yellow corner easily and congratulate ourselves. E going so far as to say this is easy.  It goes down hill from then on. You would think one could see the route from the bridges, but no. The designers have for seen this and made the maze so convelutedly twisty, with a gazillion dead ends. We are wilting, trudging along. From one bridge we see O in the centre. He’s finished and wondering what on earth we are doing. We occasionally meet R or paps along our dusty trudge. Rio is running, and e is wondering why we aren’t running, to make it go faster. I explain that we are red faced and sweltering hot already, but she stomps off, muttering under her breath. As the long day wears on, and we have only managed to find two of the four corners, both e and I start to feel a little fractious, sniping about which way we’ve already been. Amazing how what was a dead end turns into an interesting path on the tenth visit. We are vermilion now, but will be use the emergency exits? No no, not us! O has counted to 4000 in the middle, and is now telling someone his life story. The details are too sweaty and grouchy, but eventually  (60 mins- ha!) We stagger out just behind r and paps,  who team up towards the end. I see a lady saying to her son ‘this could take us up to an hour’ I laugh hollowly. We are all relieved to have a rafreshing dip in the lake.

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