Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lake Tekapo

It's extremely difficult to put into words the beauty we saw while driving down to Lake Tekapo from Christchurch and at the Lake itself. The intense turquoise colour in the lake is amazing. It's caused by 'rock flour' which is created when the glaciers in the headwaters grind the rock into fine dust. Jane is my resident geography teacher.
The town of Lake tekapo is lovely. Small and quaint with a population of just under 400.

The Lake is right beside Mt. John which has an observatory at the top of it run by the University of Canterbury. "Tekapo" is a Maori word meaning night sleeping place (Taka is "sleeping mat" and Po is "night") and Lake Tekapo has the clearest, darkest and most spectacular night sky in New Zealand. Our first night there we realised that this was no exaggeration. The night sky is spectacular.

We decided to climb Mt. John to check out the view and enquire about the tour of the observatory. It took about an hour to reach the summit, it's only about 300 metres above the Lake (1031 metres above sea level). The views were incredible and the coffee was very tasty aswell! It really was a reminder of the majesty and splendour of God. His works displayed for all to see; we had a great time talking about how awesome (in the real sense of the word) He is.

As it's the 'Year of Astronomy' the Mt. Jon Observatory were having a free tour of everything involved in their research. All the head astronomers would be there as well as having the use of the gigamongous telescopes. we figured it'd be an experience we couldn't miss. We set off at dusk and spent a few hours in the dark at the top of the mountain looking through telescopes and wondering how could anyone not believe in a Creator God. I asked the head astronomer did his work lead him to the belief in a creator or the belief in randomness. He said he has been an atheist for 20 years and this hasn't changed his mind. He was amazed at creation and how such order can come from chaos. I was tempted to ask him did he realise he used order and creation in the very sentence after he said he was an atheist. I figured that would be rude.

Some of the views through the telescopes were magnificent. For those interested you can see some info on the telescopes here. Like looking at diamonds in the sky; although we figured that we enjoyed looking at the stars through the naked eye more. Not sure why. A bit more awe inspiring perhaps.

The town also has a lovely little church called the church of the Good Shepherd. Very small and cute with fantastic views but strange that so many tourists are enamored by it. Perhaps it's the good photo ops.

I can now understand why people say New Zealand is the prettiest most spectacular country in the world. I'm sure we'll have plenty more cracking photo's to post in the weeks to come.