Kia Ora New Zealand – Episode 3: The Enchantment of Lupins

Good morning Methven! The day started off with us, the adults dissembling the beds, cleaning the motorhome, preparing breakfast, taking bath and prepping for the next leg of the road trip.

Amee and his morning exercise

We didn’t showered in the motorhome’s toilet (except for special cases like when Amee poo poo or when he purposely fall into the lake) but we used the site facilities instead. At Abisko Lodge, we had to pay $1 for 5 minutes of hot shower (Hot shower is the way to go as it is still freezing summer morning)

For those who love to daydreaming during shower, they might need to spare additional $1 coins. But in my case, 5 minutes shower is not a problem as I’m an expert in express shower (brush your teeth, wash your face at the sink and dont ever attempt to wash your hair or you will get into messy situation which I’ve learned through the hard way later..)

Tips: If you dont have small change with you, just request it from the Front Office

Fyi, motorhome site is still subjected to a stipulated check out time; most of the site’s check out time are 10 am. Realising that it was quite impossible for us to leave the site by 10 am, we sought permission to extend the check out time from the host and we got extension until 11 am. (Just a reminder not to make yourself at home even when you are travelling on a motorhome)

Before leaving the site, we (Rina and her husband) disposed the waste water at the dumpsite, cleaned the waste water container and refilled it with fresh water and the RV toilet chemicals (blue packet thingy that contains biodegradable formula that breaks down tissue and waste and controlled odor). Me? Busy observing and decided to leave it to the experts.

From Abisko, we headed to the Rakaia Gorge. We were fortunate that the sun still with us when we were taking photos with the picturesque Rakaia River before the clouds started to gather and followed by drizzling soon after that.

Gorgeous Rakaia Gorge view
Bff and her family
Oh hello..welcome to Rakaia Gorge..
Blue river and blue sky

There are plenty of activities that can be done at Rakaia River, for example jetboating (booking is required), picnic, fishing (license is required) or you can just soaked your feet into the river or just sit down and enjoy the view, just like we did. Oh.. Amee and Fa played with the sands too (and that was as soon as they spotted ’em).

At Rakaia River, we bumped into another Malaysian family who travelling via motorhome too, chit chatted for a while before we continued our journey to Geraldine. We used Inland Scenic Route 72 to get to Geraldine.

Along the way, we stopped nearby a sheep farm to take photos with Amee’s friends (he insisted that the sheeps are Fatin’s friend though..hahaha) and also had quick photo stop at the yellow field of canolas. Well, that’s the beauty of self drive road trip, you can just stop anywhere (that you observe is safe to park) and enjoy your quick photo session.

Soon, we arrived at Geraldine. We parked our motorhome along the road which allows free parking for 2 hours and walked to Barkers of Geraldine. People might be wondering why we were stopping by at Geraldine. Actually, there were few small towns along the route to Lake Tekapo, but we opted for Geraldine to equally break down the driving hours and also because of Barkers and Talbot Cheese.

Barkers is a fruit based products made in New Zealand and is originated from the farm at Geraldine. You can find lots of Barker’s product at the supermarket and even some of the desserts shop that we went to used Barkers. And now you will be wondering why did we even bother going to the shop when it is all readily available at the supermarket? I’ve got 2 main reasons:

  • the shop has most of the products unlike the supermarket which sell selected items only 
  • we can taste the products (no tester at the supermarket). Of course we took time to skim through the ingredients label (some might contained wine or alcohol) before we started the tasting tour.

We basically tasted everything that we could at the shop before deciding and finalising our cart and made payment. I bought a compote, lemon curd and relish to bring back home. If you need recommendations:

  • Blackcurrant juice (The most popular product, tasted like Ribena)
  • Lemon curd (good for lemon tart)
  • Strawberry jam (Fa’s favorite)
  • I think its Dulche de leche is yummy too because it was sold out during our visit
  • For more products, you can check it out at
    https://www.barkers.co.nz/shop/

Nearby the Barker is Talbot Cheese Shop which of course we must visit the cheese shop as Rina’s family is cheese fanatics. Once we entered the shop, we were lured to the big window disclosing the cheese making sections. Interesting to watch.

Cheese in the making

After confirming the source of rennet and checking the ingredients we started our cheese tasting. Most of the cheeses were good but the one that I instantly fall in love with the geraldine cheddar. (Sooo deliciously creamy) .

While waiting for Rina to finalise her purchases, Fa was already at the other corner of the shop, drooling over the selections of kapiti ice cream. I’ve requested to taste few flavors and the friendly staff there generously gave a spoonful of ice cream to Fa for her to taste.

Fa finally got her kapiti ice cream and a woody friend that loves to eat ice cream too!

Next pit stop was lunch. We bought our lunch from the Geraldine Fish Supply. Before placing our order, Rina had interviewed the friendly shop owner, explaining our dietary requirements. (For the first few days, Rina basically do most of the talking as I could barely talk (almost lost my voice due to severe sore throat and to make things worse I didn’t bring any medication so I just self medicating with loads of Vitamin C and ginger lemon honey tea)

Once we were convinced (after the owner showed us the halal shortening that they used for frying and informed us that they used separate utensils for frying) we placed our order and were overwhelmed when we received our orders. There were sure lotsssss of chips in the package!

Geraldine Fish Supply

After all were satisfied with their fish and chip portion, we resumed our journey to Lake Tekapo via Geraldine – Fairlie Highway, Fairlie Tekapo Road passing through the Burkes Pass while enjoying the delicious fish and chips.

Turn right for Lake Tekapo.
Cows of New Zealand
Burkes Pass

And of course one should not fall asleep while road trippin at NZ especially when you have reached the Mackenzie Country! Because we finally spotted a patch of gorgeous colorful LUPINS!! We have actually missed the patch but quickly did a u turn and here we are, alll were soooo giddy over the lupins! Note: once you saw lupins in bloom. You will keep seeing em almost everywhere.

Colorful lupins

Personally, I think that the first bushes of lupins that we stumbled into was almost the most prettiest of all due to the volumes and the gradients of colors. It made the kids so excited running around the bushes and it took a while to gather them for their mandatory family photos with the lupins.

Have I mentioned that we got the place to ourselves for almost 30 mins before other travelers noticed the beautiful bushes and decided to stop by for photo session too? AWESOME!

Mandatory family potrait with the lupins
Lupins and I
Wefie with bff to commemorate our first encounter with the lupins
Close up shot of the lupins

After 1++ hours of driving from Geraldine, we finally reached our next pit stop for the night; powered site at Lake tekapo. There were few options for the site, we choosed the one with the view. It was almost sunset when we arrived at the site, Azhar decided to rest, whilst Rina, the kids and I decided to stroll at the lake area, playground and watched the sunset.

Let’s go to the playground
Fatin and the Lake Tekapo
Bff and her children
Scenic sunset
View from our motorhome site

When we got back to our motorhome to prepare dinner, two Malaysian aunties (they stayed at the cabin) approached us and asked about our motorhome, and we explained to them about the features of the motorhome especially the bed. (Yes, most of people that we met were curious on the bed setting in the motorhome.)

What’s for dinner tonight
Stir fry prawns with mixed vege
Crowd’s favourite..ayam sos tiram

During midnight, we braved through the freezing and windy night to sit outside for stargazing session; a must do when you are at Mackenzie, one of the 13 areas of the world that has been certified as International Dark Sky Reserve by International Dark-sky Association (IDA).

What does it mean by Dark Sky Reserve?
According to IDA, it is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core.


In layman: dark sky reserve is an area where there is either veryyyyy minimal or completely free from light pollution, hence you will be able to easily see the stars galaxy with your naked eyes.

The Dark Sky Reserve Area at Aoraki Mackenzie

When I first looked up to the sky, I could only noticed a few stars, but after gazing for a minute, slowly the stars galaxy started to unfold themselves and suddenly the sky is full of stars! AMAZING!!!

Subhanallah, we were beyond words upon seeing millions of glittering stars sparkling at the sky. The sky was so clear that we could even see the milky way. I’ve tried to capture it using my Huawei P20 Pro but I failed to figure out the setting, so I decided just to sit back, absorb the view with my eyes and record it at my internal memories box.

Southern Constellations

To see the constellation that we saw that night, you can check it out at https://www.stardome.org.nz/astronomy/star-charts/

So grateful to Allah for this opportunity and that concluded the awesome day. Time for beauty sleep.

Our journey so far.
  • Distance traveled today :158 km
  • Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Total distance: 255 km
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