in photos: Collecting WOW! Moments at lake tekapo in New Zealand

Of course, there are many "wow" moments when you are a perpetual traveller and as I'm often reminded, I'm easily pleased. I'll wow a pad thai if it tastes good enough, a sunset if I'm simply facing in the right direction and an ice cold beer simply because the day has been a long hot sweaty one. I give away many "wow"s.

What I do not give away flippantly are "Wow"s. And hardly ever do I grant a moment a well-rounded "WOW!".

That was until I travelled around New Zealand.

The first "Wow" came as we drove across the South Island and as the ever-changing horizon altered once more we glanced upon a blue I don't think I'd ever seen before. It's name was Lake Tekapo.Touring the lakes of South Island wasn't something we'd planned on, they just happened to be on our way as we headed to Milford Sound from Christchurch via Queenstown. But I wasn't disappointed by their presence.

As soon our eyes settled on Lake Tekapo on the horizon we felt forced to stop, get closer, so we did. Betty even dipped her toes in the water. We then learnt there was a Japanese restaurant in the very nearby town with views over the lake. It was a bizarre and unexpected juxtaposition but it made me very happy to enjoy one of my favourite foods with one of my new favourite views. We then returned to a look out point where a small chapel sits watching over Lake Tekapo. Leaving Tekapo we cris-crossed with rivers of the same colour. They warranted some "Wow"s and smiles too though Lake Tekapo will always hold a special place in my memory and heart thanks to that first "Wow" moment. For the same reason Lake Pukaki overlooked by the majestically pointed Mount Cook will too. Lake Pukaki earned us our first "WOW!" moment. After Lake Tekapo, I just didn't think the colour of a lake could get any more, well, ridiculous. But it did. (I love this second photo which shows Betty biting her lip - a clear reaction to our disbelief at how awesome it all just got) And this is what having a "WOW!" moment looks like.If you're interested, the reason these lakes are the colour they are is because of the "glacial flour" that has long, long, long flown into the lakes, feeding them this distinctive cloudy, bluey-green colour. Glacial flour is created by the grinding down of bedrock in glaciers and mountains, which then flows into rivers and lakes. At least this is my understanding, and I never really did like geography, but later on in our trip we saw the icey turquoise of Fox Glacier and only too easily understood how this influenced the appearance of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, aka Lake Wow and Lake WOW!.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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