I am waiting for South Island to show me something unlovely. It feels like every part of the countryside here is at least pretty, and at most is breathtakingly beautiful.
From Castle Hill we drove south through the Canterbury plains along incredibly straight straight roads that stretched so far into the hot distance they seemed to turn to water in front of us. The land is flat and endless, perfect for long conversations.
As we got near again to the Southern Alps, the land begins to get hillier, the roads start to wind a little more, and either side of the highway appear vast swards of lupins, that work together to make a fuzzy purple edge to the harsh edges of the grasslands, and up in the distance, thrust up straight from the flat, snow-capped mountains.
It’s a remarkable thing to see. The conversation continued in spite of the bending roads, and then all talk was silenced as we rounded a corner and below us appeared Lake Tekapo – aquamarine and still right in front of us, cradled in the valley ahead.
I have seen lakes and mountains before, but I have never seen anything that looks quite so pure and unadulterated.
Later that night, when the sky was dark at about 11pm, Orion appeared surrounded by swathes of unfamiliar and unknown stars and constellations, brilliantly bright against total inky black, and the light from them reflected by the lake making it look slightly phosphorescent.
I’m beginning to wonder if this country actually does ugliness at all.