Instead of following the same path we came, we choose a path through the centre of the South Island. Our next stop for the night was Twizel.
Twizel is a small little town with around 1000 inhabitants in the Mackenzie country. The country here is a little rough and pretty flat. The town came to be as a hydroelectricity project to house workers and industry for the nearby dam.
Curiously the town was built in "Scandinavian fashion" with all the public and recreational buildings (school, supermarket, playground, park, city hall, tourist information) in the central hub and the residential are constructed in a circle around it. That means that you can do everything in town by foot and it will even be faster than using your car. Pretty cool concept!
There are a couple of very interesting lakes around, like Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. The soil in this area has some unique minerals that, dissolved in water, give it a striking turquoise colour. All natural.
One lake is used for the dam to generate electricity. The lake is not a natural one, but the turquoise colour is nonetheless natural.
We spent the night a nearby motor camp frequented by Kiwis from all over New Zealand. Thus we had some unique Kiwi experiences here:
When I went back to the office to get some change for the washing machine, I saw a new camper Kiwi lady desperately trying to figure out a way to open the gate. I approached and offered help. Turned out she unsuccessfully dialled in the date on her entrance key slip for the 4th time. I showed her that's it wasn't the date she needed to dial in, but the key code below labelled entrance key code for the camping ground barrier. She was very surprised, but followed my advice and successfully opened the gate. She thanked me and ranted about the camping ground owners making such a complicated system........
Later me and bilge rat cooked something in the public kitchen, when the same was taken over by teenage Kiwi rowing club. We were a bit intimidated by the overwhelming numbers and noise, but when they started to open our stuff in the fridge, we had to react. We put some leftover rice in an old ice cream box and the kids thought it to be ice cream. Furthermore they apparently thought that all things in the fridge to be theirs, naturally. Bilge rat angrily stomped to the Roach Mobil and returned with a permanent marker. You can see the result below:
The Teenage Mutant Rowing Kiwis never touched our things again... >:)