Our final stops on the South Island featured more spectacular scenery. I pondered, could we ever get tired of such views?
We did a 2 hour hike up St. John’s hill past the astronomical observatories and continuing along down around the base of Lake Tekapo. We had an interesting conversation with a comparably aged Japanese man who was headed in the opposite direction and stopped us asking if we were expert hikers. I told him we were experienced hikers and would see if we could help him. Looking to make order out of chaos, he wanted to know which side of the trail was the proper one to walk on; should he keep to the left as drivers do, or to the right. Cindy and I had asked ourselves the same question many times in both Australia and New Zealand. Many people don’t seem to care about applying road rules to hiking trails so it just becomes a matter of avoiding collisions. Not too difficult to accomplish.
The gentleman went on to explain that after the recent tsunami he began to question how happy he was with his life, ultimately deciding to retire early and travel the world. We understood, and after trading some of our life situations and abbreviated stories, shook hands and parted ways.
We spent the last night on the South Island in our campervan in a so-called Holiday Park flanked by a highway on one side and an active railroad on the other. Without any fanfare but with much glee we turned the van back over to Cruzy Campers. In short order we boarded a plane to Auckland.